Benoit Huberdeau offers an independent option in Sherbrooke

By Gordon Lambie
Benoit Huberdeau offers an independent option in Sherbrooke

The federal election campaign gained an independent candidate in the Sherbrooke riding on Wednesday in Benoit Huberdeau. The long-time volunteer with the Moisson Estrie food bank launched his campaign surrounded by his fellow volunteers, stating that he wants to do things differently than the major parties with their media machines.

“I know that I am taking an enormous risk in not affiliating myself with a particular party,” Huberdeau said, stating that he shares some affinity with the Green Party and the Bloc Quebecois, “I just don’t want to be confined to a scripted message prepared in advance by the higher ups in a party.”

Huberdeau’s platform balances on three main pillars.
First he plans to raise the profile of food waste in the country, citing a 40 per cent spoilage rate.

“It is unacceptable that in a city like Sherbrooke there are so many people suffering from hunger,” the candidate said, underlining a need for a firm and official policy putting an end to food waste in the country. “This is not the solution to poverty, but it could be a solution to hunger for thousands of people.”

Huberdeau called the matter a “hyper-important subject” that has been largely ignored by the country’s big political parties

Second, the candidate would like to see three quarters of vehicles in the province of Quebec running on alternative or green energy in the next ten years in the hopes of producing an overall reduction in national greenhouse gas emissions.

“We are due, in Canada, for a vast plan to electrify automotive transport.” Huberdeau said, “The resources exist; we should be ambitious.”

The candidate said that he wants to see the country take on realistic objectives for gas emission reduction alongside a universal support for all alternative fuel sources. On the local sphere he proposed measures like the elimination of drive-thrus because of the way they encourage car-idling.

Third, Huberdeau wants to push for the elimination of federal income tax. Saying that income taxes are “not a matter of life or death” for a government, the candidate proposed replacing the government’s most significant source of funding with the implementation of a new form of private partnership in which all corporations commit a percentage of their payroll towards a designated “social fund.” These funds would then be paid to community and not-for-profit organizations in order to bring businesses and the community closer together while eliminating the dependency of such groups on government funding.

Huberdeau called the plan “audacious but doable” and theorized that it would ultimately make communities more dynamic while reducing bureaucracy

“We really need to take care of our whole community,” the candidate said. “Collectivity should really be priority of everyone.”

Huberdeau complained that ultimately election campaigns end up being a broken record of the same issues repeated over and over again without resolution. He said his campaign is an effort to humbly insert positivity and new ideas into the Canadian political sphere.

“We have to start somewhere,” the candidate said. “These issues affect so many people. Eventually, no matter who forms the government, maybe these ideas will be picked up and will inspire someone somewhere. That would be a victory in itself.”

Huberdeau emphasized that he is working to connect with the non-voting majority, rather than trying to court voters with existing political affiliations.

“I don’t want to divide the vote; I want to add to it,” Huberdeau said. “If my message is heard and it turns into votes, that is great, but if it is heard and brought somewhere else, then my work is done as well.”

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