Andy McCann-Pappin aims to fight the capitalism-first policies that have impacted his life, bringing about change as an MP.

In an extensive interview with The Guelph Post on Tuesday, McCann-Pappin, who works at the University of Guelph campus co-op in student housing, revealed why he is running for the nomination of the local New Democratic Party and how got there.

McCann-Pappin, who was born and spent most of his life in Guelph, became interested in politics during the year 2008 while living in London, Ont. because of hardships his family faced due to the capitalist policies coming down from multiple levels of government — from both the federal Conservatives and provincial Liberals. He turned to the NDP at that point, which he said was “a natural fit from that point on.”

It was at then that it became a longterm goal for the activist to eventually run as a candidate. He spent several years as part of different campaigns in Guelph: James Gordon’s run for the province, Andrew Seagram’s run for MP and Agnieszka Mlyarnz’s run for the provincial parliament. He also was the campaign manager for Gordon’s successful Council re-election bid in the fall of 2018. He was also an assistant to Toronto city Coun. Mary Fragedakis, who lost a re-election bid last year.

McCann-Pappin told The Post it was this political experience, his lived experience and his knowledge of the city that would make him the ideal candidate for the NDP and as a member of parliament. The top three election issues for him are the climate crisis, mental health and bringing about nationally subsidized pharmaceuticals, or “pharmacare”.

Though McCann-Pappin has never run for the candidacy of a party or in any election as the candidate in the past, he said he is determined to “hit the road”. The nominee said when he campaigns it is important for him to identify his strengths and his weaknesses so that the team can design an election effort around the strengths of the candidate.

If McCann-Pappin is chosen on June 22, he will face two other “progressive”-branded candidates, Liberal MP Lloyd Longfield and Green candidate Steve Dyck. What makes him different, he told The Post, is that his background is not rooted in corporate or business ideology. He explained that when it comes to his top issue, climate change, his approach will look to put people first, bringing “actual progressive solutions”.

His campaign as an MP candidate would be grassroots-focused, McCann said. He added that instead of speaking at people, he aims to listen and bring new ideas into his campaign. Even if he becomes the candidate but does not win in the general election, the nominee said the effort would not be worthless because he wants to also build the groundwork for the future.

In response to a question about the Guelph angle and what work McCann-Pappin as an MP would do for the city, the nominee said that his “prime focus” is combatting the impact of human-generated climate change. As an MP, he would install federal protections for local environmental areas like MPP Mike Schreiner is looking to do with the Paris-Galt Morraine. 

He also wants to work with the municipality on climate policy, offering stability from federal legislation he says will be more effective than a provincial counterpart. In the scenario that the NDP do not win the government on Oct. 21, he explained there are “mechanisms for quality legislation” that would allow him as an MP to have an impact locally.

‘A little disappointed’ in short campaign period

Normally, a nomination period runs for at least six weeks, so that candidates have time to sign up new members to the party they are running for so that they can build a base outside of the existing local membership for a better result. The New Democrats, however, are behind — the last major party in Guelph to hold a nomination.

Aisha Jahangir revealed to The Post earlier on Tuesday that the delay was due to a lengthy vetting process that the party headquarters were carrying out, though it is unclear why it it took so long. Andy McCann-Pappin said that he was “a little disappointed” but understood the rationale to move ahead without a typical campaign period was so that the NDP could catch up to the other major parties in Guelph by having a candidate.

The Liberals and Greens have already started significant canvassing door-to-door in Guelph with their candidates, who they have had for some time now. McCann-Pappin and Jahangir heard that they were vetted just minutes before the Conservative Party announced their candidate, Dr. Ashish Sachan.

Jahangir held a nominee campaign launch on Tuesday morning and McCann-Pappin has his launch scheduled for Wednesday evening at The Cornerstone downtown Guelph. The nomination meeting where one of the nominees will be chosen as the NDP candidate will be on June 22, starting at 2 p.m. inside the Evergreen Centre.