NEW GLASGOW – David Parker is a straight shooter.
The Central Nova New Democrat candidate says he may not be as “good looking” as the Green Party candidate or as well known as the Conservative incumbent, but he hopes his straight talk will show people that he believes what he says and he treats people the way he wants to be treated.
“Personality and reputation is what we stand for,” he said. “I tend to be frank. If you listen to politicians talk, they tend not to be. They offer platitudes and half truths, and generalities, and I tend to cut right to the chase.”
Parker said he has been asked to “tone it down a bit” from a few of his handlers, but says with a smile that he hasn’t listened very well.
“I appreciate people who are frank, whether you agree or disagree with me and then we can have a rational discussion,” he said. “I am not saying we will always agree but at least we know where we will stand, I appreciate knowing where I stand. I have a lot of experience in life and the political process. I am someone who has been around and knows how the system works and knows some of the bottlenecks in it.”
Knowing the system might be a bit of an understatement considering his family’s political history and his brother Charlie’s success in provincial politics.
“People have heard of my name. Both Charlie and Clarrie (MacKinnon) are both very well recognized and thought of in the county,” he said. “On about a third of the doorsteps I get that question, ‘Are you related to Charlie or are you Charlie’s brother?’ So it has helped. I don’t mind it, I am proud of my brother.”
He said the earliest political memory is handing out flyers for his grandfather at age 8 or 9 and writing a letter at age 11 to a newspaper outlining what he would do if he was prime minister.
“Some of those things I wrote back then, still apply today,” he said.
Parker admits that he isn’t a fan of party politics, but after working with Charlie on one of his campaigns, he feels comfortable within the New Democrat Party.
“You can’t get elected in Nova Scotia or Canada without a team behind you,” he said. “However, particularly in parliament, I believe the parties have too much say in day-to-day debate. They become to partisan. I blame visual media for that because that is all they show. They don’t show a good honest debate, instead they show the guy shaking his finger or the cat calls. This is where our system has been weakened. We don’t have the forthright honest debate on issues. At least it’s not publicized like it was in the past.”
Parker said he tested the political waters first with a successful stint at municipal politics – currently a member of county council – and is now ready to tackle some larger national issues.
He said municipal politics is a “much smaller scale with a narrower focus,” but he using some of his experience on that level to connect with people in this federal campaign.
“My main task is to knock on doors and meet people. Put a name to the face or question me or whatever. Getting my face known is job one,” he said. “I like talking to people. I enjoy trying to help them but you can’t always be successful. You develop a bit of thick skin and you have to because there are people out there who take a strip off you for something you did or did not do, rightly or wrongly. Politicians are an easy target. You stick your head up they are going to throw snowballs at you.”
And though he freely admits he is tired and needs Sundays and early morning walks in the woods with his dog to recharge his batteries, Parker says he is going to work hard until the very last day of this campaign, knowing he put up a good fight against a tough opponent.
“I am enjoying what I am doing,” he said. “It’s tiring, but I really do believe the only way to make a difference in this world is to get out and work at it. You need to talk to people and find out what they want done. You work as hard as you can work right up until the polls close and we will see what the score is. Politics is a funny game. You don’t know the score until the game is over.”
Name David K. Parker
Family: Wife Elaine, daughters Melanie and Erin and son Jeff
Residence: White Hill, Pictou County
Career: High School physics teacher, farmer, woodlot owner/operator, business owner, municipal councillor
Volunteer work: Chair of Hector Arena Commission, past member of the Pictou North Colchester Exhibition Commission, member of the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association and longtime volunteer of the Kidney Foundation.