Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Got a letter to the editor printed in the Langley Times

Editor: I am shocked and dismayed by the recent Conservative budget. It is a short-sighted and blatant attempt to buy Quebec and central Canada votes with Western money. What Canada doesn’t need is Mulroney-esque spending, insignificant tax cuts, a complete lack of vision for the environment, and no push for Canada’s competitiveness.

Canada needs a budget that integrates economic prosperity, social justice and environmental sustainability, while building for the future.

Look at the equalization plan that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty seems to think will stop the “bickering between the provinces and the federal government.” This Conservative budget includes B.C.’s sky-rocketing property values in the calculation of transfer payments, effectively eliminating any benefit B.C. might derive from the plan. When we talk about Western alienation, one has to wonder if this term is news to Flaherty.

Let’s look at the environmental issues. There are no industrial targets. There is no plan to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions, yet industrial polluters take up the lion’s share of the greenhouse gas emissions. There is an automobile purchase incentive, “but the amount of the rebate is just not enough to make a difference for people making choices to buy a car,” says Sierra Club’s John Bennett.

The Harper government does not understand the implications or the urgency of the climate change crisis. The Conservatives are ignoring climate change. At the same time, there is not nearly enough in this anti-B.C. budget for city and public transportation infrastructure — something Langley sorely needs.

What about tax relief? John Williamson, president of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said, “The fellow working the line or anyone with a salary income and no children will receive no tax relief.”

There is nothing for post-secondary education. Aboriginal issues have been dragged back 10 years. Businesses are still paying the highest tax rates in the G7. Child care is virtually non-existent. And there is not a word on affordable housing.

Never before have so many been so disappointed by a government which has done so little with so much.

Jake Gray,


Editor’s note — Mr. Gray is seeking the federal Liberal nomination in Langley.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Nomination Meeting

The nomination meeting for Langley has been called. It is scheduled for Thursday March 29th, 7:30-9:30 PM, Murrayville Hall, 21667, 48th Ave, Langley B.C.

All Liberals are cordially invited.

Sad News

I am deeply saddened to report that Gary Tayler passed away Monday night.

Gary was an active, out-spoken, generous member of the Liberal Party, and the community around him. He will be sorely missed.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Super exciting

I had a great day today. I met some fabulous people, fixed my car, and read a fantastic piece about me printed in the Langley Times. I have to get bed because tomorrow is full. If anybody is interested, I am going to run the 10 K in the green hair half marathon in Abbotsford. http://www.events.runningroom.com/site/?raceId=2676

I'll be near the back of the pack.

Fundraiser coming soon. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A day in Langley

I was out and about late last week with Karen Kersey, a long time Langley Liberal, and all-round awesome lady. We went to visit Pat at A Bread Affair, a local artisan bakery at 206th and 56th. If you have a chance, go in and get a Lavender and White Chocolate muffin. They are awesome. I tried a sample of a pumpkin seed loaf (not my favorite, but Karen liked it) and I bought a loaf of sprouted whole wheat bread, which I ate in a day. I like bread, but this bread is dangerously good. Pat is a pretty nice guy as well, but he gave me a pretty rough time, which is exactly what we went there for.

Karen is helping me meet a bunch of old time Langley Liberals who haven't been too active as of late. It is very encouraging to see how many Liberals are in the city and township, and who are excited about getting back involved.

Sunday night was a big fundraiser at the Imperial Restaurant in Vancouver. It was a great turn out, being over sold by 30 tickets. The ability to meet people at these events is truly awesome. MP's, senators, and the leader of the Liberal Party, Stephane Dion. I have to admit, I was a Bob Rae supporter, and while I still believe he would have made a great leader, I am warming to Monsieur Dion. At first I was not particularly happy with the outcome of the convention. That is rapidly changing. The more I see him speak, or perhaps the more he gets to speak, the better he gets. The accent is getting better, but the passion remains. He truly has a vision for the country, and the drive to make it happen. So the question I have, is why is the media not giving him more air time? Last night I was watching Jack Leyton on CBC newsworld. Boring. Speaking of the media. . .

Yesterday morning I met with Frank Bucholtz of the Langley Times. What I thought was going to be a 10 minute "hi how are ya" turned into an hour and a half gabfest. We talked about everything from election dynamics to the looming baby boomers entry into the sunset years and its effects on health care, to child care, to the environment and my personal favorite transportation. I had a great time, and I hope I didn't bore Frank too much. Yesterday afternoon I went out to Aldergrove, where I was to meet Kurt Langman, editor at the Aldergrove Star.

Well it seems that Kurt fell off a ladder late last week and broke his arm! So he wasn't available to see me, however, I ran into an old friend in the Star office. Mr. Harry Hunt, the beloved custodian from L.S.S. and Aldergrove Secondary. I hadn't seen harry since our school ski trips in High School. He looks exactly the same (little more salt in the big moustache) and has the same high spirits and sparkling eyes.

My friend Karn, who used to be the M.L.A. for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, told me that during decision to run for office he faced too many moments of serendipity for it to be accidental. I may be starting to believe him.


Thursday, March 8, 2007

A little bit about me, and Why I am seeking the nomintaion

My Background

My family moved from Vancouver to Langley when I was 12. I attended Aldergrove Elementary School in the French Immersion program. I attended Langley Secondary School, where I continued in French Immersion, the Advanced Placement program, played rugby, performed in school plays, played french horn in the band (what a dorky instrument, second only to the oboe), took shop, skied and snowboarded every chance I got and generally had a great time. I also began working part-time jobs when I was 14. During High School I worked as a bus-boy, gas attendant, sports store salesman, shoveling sand during the construction of a golf course and a milk truck driver.

Following High School, I attended U.B.C. in science. I took as many different courses as I could, from the modern British novel to coordination chemistry. In third year, the university forced me to declare a major, and the degree that required the fewest course at that point was Animal Biology. The second half of my third year, and my fourth year were thus mostly biology courses, of which the bulk were evolution or genetics based.

During my time at U.B.C. I was actively involved in the community on many fronts. I wrote for the 432, the science newspaper, I held positions on both the science council and the Alma Mater Society council, I was an active member of a fraternity, I was a member of several clubs, and I attempted to get elected to the AMS executive 3 times. During the summers I had the fortune to have a well paying job. I worked in Logging camps doing forestry engineering. This had the double bonus of paying well, and also keeping me somewhere I couldn't spend the money I was earning. This allowed me to pay my own way through school, something that many of my friends were unable to do. And now, almost ten years later, they are just finishing paying off their student loans.

Following University I worked for several months at a planer mill to save money to go traveling. I set out on my first large backpacking trip. I spent 4 months in Europe, followed by 4 months in India and Nepal. This was a pivotal experience for me. Not only did it show me that Canada is pretty awesome, it also showed me that we do not exist in a vacuum. Our actions in Canada can and do affect things around the world, and events elsewhere affect us as well. I have since traveled to Kenya and Tanzania in 2002, and Peru in 2004. I have a strong desire to visit China and will likely go in the next 2 years.

Upon returning (it was difficult to come home after eight months of not staying anywhere longer than three days) I began working at the Flavelle Sawmill in Port Moody. I started fixing a few broken computers. I performed this reasonably well, so was allowed to start helping repair some automation equipment. I performed this reasonably well, so I was allowed to start rewriting automation code. I performed this reasonably well, so my supervisor left my alone and went to India for three weeks. When he returned, the mill was still running and I had managed to fix a few things in his absence. I was promoted and my supervisor moved back to Merritt. I became a shift supervisor, as well as a project manager for the installation of new equipment.

In 2004 I decided it was time to return to school. I originally contemplated law, however after further investigation, I decided that I would likely enjoy the practice of law, but dislike the business of law. At the same time I was developing a keen interest in entrepreneurship. I had several ideas of businesses I thought would be interesting to start, and also provide a good value to society. However I had no idea how to get started. So I decided to pursue an M.B.A. I looked at several schools and decided Queen's had a program that most suited my needs. I entered in May 2005 and completed the program in May 2006.

During that time I had the opportunity to meet Frank Dottori from a company called Tembec. We were looking for a prominent person to interview about leadership. Frank was the head of Tembec which was started from one bankrupt pulp mill, and has grown to a 4 billion dollar member of the pulp and paper industry. Frank helped us for our project, but really thought that Bob Rae was the guy we should interview.

Upon graduation, Bob had just declared his candidacy for the Leadership of the Liberal Party. Bob came to BC where we met and had a very good conversation. I put off my work search and joined in helping out his race in BC. I had no idea I would meet such a fabulous group of people from all across the country. Convention turned me from a "liberal minded person" to a "liberal action person". I am no longer content to allow things to unfold. I want to help make sure that liberal values continue to build the Canada that I am proud of.

I had intended to help out in several ridings, but came to the conclusion that Langley needs a voice. Langley needs someone to step up to the plate and win. And so here I am ready to work to make Langley a Liberal Riding.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

New Website Coming!

My friend Jer is helping me put together something a little more professional looking. Check back soon for Photos! Content! Links! Bio!

Oh, and I'm seeking the nomination for the Liberal Party to run for MP in Langley.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery

I'd like to know what the conservatives are actually going to do, because so far they haven't done anything. "But Jake" you say, "what about the ecoEnergy Efficiency Intiative?" The conservatives canceled Energuide, changed name and brought it back with lower funding, at a time when Canadians are demanding the government do more for climate change. "But Jake" you say, "what about the 270 million dollars for the Homelessness Partnership Project?" What about the 270 million dollars they cut from the liberal Supporting Community Partnership Initiative, both programs targeted at reducing homelessness? "But Jake" you say, "what about the ten million dollars the Conservatives gave to the Terry Fox foundation?" You mean the re-announcement of the money pledged the previous year by the Liberal Government? In agriculture, health, environment and housing, this government seems to thrive on cutting important programs, then relaunching them a short time later with a new name. Well, at least they're following the right platform.