Libertarian candidate John Recker shares his political philosophy of social and economic freedom for Toronto-Danforthby Vanessa Pinto
The by-election date of March 19 is fast approaching, and Libertarian candidate John Recker is prepared for the race. In his discussion with On the Danforth, Recker reveals his movement into politics out of a discontent for current politics and big-government parties, as well as a passion for individual freedoms. Recker also shares his disdain for heavy legislation, his drive towards “responsible and rational discussion” regarding social inequalities, and his respect for the late Jack Layton.
OTD: Can you tell On the Danforth readers about your political life?
JR: Like many others who have joined the Libertarian Party, I became disillusioned with the lack of any real choice in our political process. I feel it is imperative to offer an alternative to the current mainstream, where all the major parties are singing the same song, albeit in slightly different keys. I am proud to represent the Libertarian Party — a party that is actually committed to facilitating a just and voluntary society, free of the violence inherent in large governments — in the upcoming by-election. I’m relatively new to libertarianism. Until just before the last federal general election, I was politically homeless. I had held more socialist views growing up due to its positions on social issues, but I came to recognize the coercion inherent in large governments and the logic of Austrian economics. I participated in the protests at the G20 in Toronto and witnessed our rights and freedoms protected by the charter being ignored and violated by the police as a result of nefarious legislation enacted by the Liberal government. The federal Conservatives have also been creating legislation that is based on fear and ignorance; ignoring the empirical evidence on which policy should be based, and further threatening our freedom and liberty. For me, libertarianism represents a mix of social and economic freedom and responsibility that is offered by no other party.
OTD: What is one thing that stands out to you about the Danforth neighbourhood?
JR: It’s the rich cultural and ethnic diversity of the Toronto-Danforth that is the riding’s most prominent feature. Nearly 40% of the riding is made up “visible minorities.” Few communities can boast of such a diversity of culture and tradition that truly enriches our community and brings together people from all over the globe. It represents a microcosm of what our country should and will look like in the future; people of different faiths, cultures and ethnicities living together with a spirit of volunteerism and mutual respect for each other’s rights. It’s a testament to how we as a global village can live in harmony.
OTD: If elected, what is one thing you would change to benefit the riding?
JR: I would […] offer the people of Toronto-Danforth the opportunity to have their views represented in Ottawa from someone who is not a member of one of the mainstream parties. The big-government parties have proven time and time again that they only seek to grow the size and scope of government at the expense of our individual freedoms and liberties. The people of this riding deserve better than to be represented by someone who will be forced to vote the party line, and ignore the wishes of their constituents.
OTD: What is your vision for Toronto-Danforth?
JR: There is huge support in this riding for the idea that our government has gone too far in restricting and regulating our lives. My vision for Toronto-Danforth involves creating a centre stage [to oppose] the intrusive, draconian, freedom-robbing legislation supported by the mainstream parties. Let’s stop criminalizing mental illness, addiction and poverty, and take measures to change the criminal justice system by implementing an evidence-based approach to corrections. We need fewer laws, not more prisons. The recent focus on “tough on crime” legislation has been demonstrated to be expensive and ineffective. Resources that could be much more effectively used for the prevention of crime are being directed toward exponentially more expensive band-aid solutions that only aggravate the situation. Policy based on fear that seeks to legislate morality is doomed to fail. It’s time to have a responsible and rational discussion about how to address the issues of addiction, poverty and mental illness in a way that does not line the pockets of drug dealers […] and gang members. Though we believe in harsh consequences for individuals, corporations and governments that violate the rights of others, too many of our laws punish people for victimless crimes and create circumstances that aggravate many social inequalities.
OTD: How do you feel about running in the late Jack Layton’s riding?
JR: Jack was a good man with an unquestionable passion for our community and our nation. From fighting poverty and homelessness to tackling issues of addiction and crime; we had many similar goals, even if we may have disagreed fundamentally on some of the means of achieving them. I think it’s sad that the NDP is now basing their campaign largely on riding the coat-tails of such an honest and respectable man. The constant “Jack-dropping” does little to respect Jack’s honour.
Disclaimer: On the Danforth Online is a neutral magazine, dedicated to providing information. The political views mentioned or discussed do not reflect the opinions or preferences of the staff or the magazine as a whole.