Saturday, December 8, 2012

George Takach - Running to be Federal Liberal Leader

Interview with George Takach

James C. Morton:I am speaking with George Takach, candidate for leader of the Federal Liberal Party of Canada and ultimately, Prime Minister of Canada.  How are you doing, George?

George Takach:I’m very well, thank you and thank you for speaking with me.

James C. Morton:Well, it’s an exciting race and it looks like it will be a crowded field.  First, George, why are you running?

George Takach:Because I want to take Canada confidently, sensibly into the 21stcentury. Harper is taking us back to the 1950’s, Mulcair is stuck in 1973, and I have a unique skill set that includes leadership experience and business experience and that’s what the Liberal Party needs right now to move forward.

James C. Morton:One of the concerns that a number of people have expressed is that the field seems to have one, maybe two, well known name brand candidates people who seem to be the leader of the pack.  George, do you think you have a shot at actually being elected and if so, how are you going to get past, candidly, it’s the elephant in the room, Justin Trudeau?

George Takach:Well the vote isn’t until April 14 – that’s 4 ½ months from now and James, as you well know because you are an experienced political veteran, 4 ½ months in political terms is an eternity, and this race is absolutely not over – it’s barely begun – and the other factor that makes this race very, very interesting and competitive, is of course, the supporter category.  If this were a delegated race or fully delegated race like, for instance, the provincial Liberal race which is ongoing right now, that would be a very different environment.  But here, I intend to reach out to literally hundreds of thousands of Canadians who, for instance, aren’t in the political process today.  When we do that, we will make a number of eyebrows within the party go up and we will have ourselves an absolute race.

James C. Morton:Well, tell me, George, how do you differ in specific policies from, say Justin Trudeau or perhaps, Deborah Coyne?  These are two people who formally declared - or any of the other candidates.  Why should somebody vote for you?  Why should a supporter endorse you as opposed to endorsing, say Justin Trudeau?

George Takach:One very important part of what I am about is the economy.  At the end of the day, the economy is the most important issue to Canadians.  When they think about politics, all the surveys show that (and I’m going to be the economy candidate), we have to get our economy growing again.  The numbers just came out this morning – we’re once again not doing as well as we need to do and I have a very interesting and aggressive technology agenda to turbo-charge the economy and, James, what makes me very unique in this race is that I have actually done this stuff for 30 years.  So, I’ll be bringing real world experience within the business community, within the technology sector, and within the social sector.  I have worked with hospitals, I have worked with universities, I have worked with governments doing innovation, bringing modern tools into the economy so that we can increase our productivity and now I hope to do that at the federal level.

James C. Morton:Tell us a little about your background, George.  I don’t know that our readers necessarily know much about you.  I’ve known you for many years, but what makes you special?

George Takach:Well, going right back to George’s beginning, I am the son of refugees that came to Canada literally with nothing but the clothes on their backs, no English, no French and it was social service agency actually, James, that put them up for a few weeks until they got those first menial jobs and then they began to live the Canadian dream courtesy of a system that got them onto that first rung of the ladder.  So, in addition to the economy agenda which I’m going to be talking about a lot, my upbringing in fairly modest circumstances also lets me speak to a range of social issues that are very near and dear to my heart courtesy of my upbringing.  So, when I talk about public education, I don’t talk about it in theoretical terms.  It was a critical component for allowing me to take advantage of the opportunities that the country has to offer.  So, for instance, one last example, in 2012 there are still children going to school hungry every morning in this country.  The background that I grew up in makes me feel angry at that fact, it makes me feel angry that Harper is absolutely doing nothing about that kind of issue, early childhood development.  We know that it’s such a smart investment, it’s such a smart social investment and Harper just has no interest in the issue.  Subsequently, I did a graduate degree when I was in university in Ottawa so I worked on Parliament Hill for an MP for a period of time, but I decided that I wanted to have a career in the world outside of politics.  I did that – I had a great 30 year career as a professional working with tech companies and other companies on their technology projects.  I believe I have a really perfect mix for the job of leader and frankly, for the job of Prime Minister.

James C. Morton:Tell me, George, do you think you could appeal in Quebec?

George Takach:(speaks French) I understand Quebeckers, I understand why Quebec is such an interesting place, both physically and psychologically, and you know, the nature of the country based on our two founding languages and then now overlaid with a very rich multi-cultural fabric.  I’m going to be just fine in Quebec in terms of understanding aspirations and the desires of Quebeckers, particularly from the prospective of being a strong federalist and understanding that you can be a very patriotic Quebecker and at the same time, a very patriotic Canadian.  For instance, I’ll just go one step further.  I think we need to flush out Mr. Mulcair.  We need to pin him down – is he a supporter of that Sherbrookedeclaration?  In my book, James, 50% + 1 is not enough to tear up a wonderful country and Mr. Mulcair, where are you on Clarity Actbecause I’m in favour of a very clear question and he is playing footsiewith Quebec nationalists in a way that the Federal Liberal Party is certainly not interested. 

James C. Morton:  Let me take you, George, to aboriginal issues.  I spend a great deal of time in the arctic and there are different problems, perhaps, for the Inuit than for some of the First Nations or Metis, but what policies can you tell us about that would work towards bringing prosperity and good health to the aboriginal communities of Canada while maintaining their legal entitlement to sovereignty and self-determination?

George Takach:I’m, in addition to the economy candidate, the tech candidate.  Call it the “Double E”– Economy and Electronic.  It’s interesting, I was having a discussion, not too long ago, with the mayor of Iqaluit who was telling me that they launched a broadcast network over the internet in a very careful and measured way.  They have a bunch of programming in their native language that allows them to reach out to a range of communities across the north and they are using technology in a way to preserve their culture, their heritage and I think that sort of initiative motivated and facilitated by technology is one of these wonderful bringing traditional communities into the 21st century to reinforce some traditional values. At the same time, I was up in northern Manitoba visiting with OvideMercredi in his First Nations Community and one of the issues we talked about was bringing high, very high speed internet into that community to provide a range of options to his community.  One of them is economic based. So much work can be done now remotely and to integrate a bunch of economic activity into that community through the fibre-optic connection.  Another huge benefit, if it’s done properly, would be Tele-Health so that you can bring the best of Canadian medical knowledge and practice to remote communities and you know, and you heard, and you probably witnessed that long flog from the north to a facility in the south, two or three days just to get there, two or three days to go back.  You can bridge the gap on so many of those issues with fibre-optic connection. One of the planks – one of the core planks in my platform at this point is a super fast internet for the country and First Nations would be, I think, absolute beneficiaries of that policy.

James C. Morton:George, this is something that we could talk about for hours and I am flying up to Iqaluit on Friday so I can share some of your thoughts with our Liberal friends there.  George, I appreciate your taking the time to speak to us today.  Is there a website or some other contact information that our readers can turn to if they want to find out more, if they want to get in touch with you or your campaign?      

George Takach:The website, and which I might add, is a very fine website indeed.  It’s a very compelling website: it’s

James C. Morton:Well, George, once again, thank you so much for speaking with us today and good luck in the campaign ahead.

George Takach:James, thank you very very much.

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