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Victor Andres: Who I am and Why I am Running

Posted on March 30, 2011

The Liberal Party is proud to have Victor Andres running in Kildonan St. Paul.

His impassioned speech about his decision to run, as well as his life’s work is inspiring reading:

Dear Colleagues, Friends, Neighbors and Fellow Canadians,

As we start to look forward to the arrival of the spring season and the promise of new beginnings, I would like to announce my decision to run as the Liberal candidate in my riding of Kildonan St. Paul  for the federal election slated for Monday May 2, 2011.  I am humbled and honored to have been asked to do so.

For those of you that do not know me personally, I am a small business owner of a disability management company called Independence Incorporated.  My staff and I assist individuals with various levels of injuries and illnesses, as they attempt to get back on their feet, and back to their jobs. For those that will never return to the same job due to the severity of their disabilities, we help them explore alternative and realistic possibilities. We help companies and employers understand what they need to do to be able to accommodate their employees that have new found restrictions, so they are able to return to work. We provide arguments to insurance companies, backed with solid reasons, as to why our clients would benefit from various rehabilitation services, and help to convince them to approve the required resources. In a nutshell, we help people get back on their feet, and to move forward with their lives with dignity and respect.

I am married to my wife Edna, and we have two children, Adam 7 and Lena, 9. We have lived in the riding for the past 11 years, having lived on both sides of the Red River, in West Kildonan, and currently in North Kildonan.

My family immigrated to Canada, directly to Winnipeg, in 1967, from Madrid, Spain. For the majority of my childhood, my mother raised us on her own. With little English, but fierce determination, and a heart of gold, she forged a life for us here. I recall the tough times, and the sting of poverty, especially as a child. To this day, I am forever grateful to Canada, and my fellow Canadians for the generosity provided to me and my family during those hard times. We eventually qualified for social housing, and moved into a brand new home. I will never forget the wonder and excitement of moving into this house. With the encouragement of great teachers, family and friends, I was able to proceed to nursing education, eventually completing my BN and eventually establishing my current business. I have been fortunate enough to be in a position to give back to the community by organizing several charity golf tournaments for the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation, organizing an annual Toy Drive for The Christmas Cheer Board for the past 4 years, and canvassing for the Heart & Stroke Foundation and The Kidney Foundation. I am also participating as a volunteer member of the public relations committee for the Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation.

I officially became a member of the Liberal party just a few years ago. I have never been politically active, concentrating my time instead, as most of you, on just trying to make a living, establish a business, pay my bills, and raise my family along with my wife, as best we could. Who had time for the political noise on TV? But then, Stephen Harper came along.

We were busy coaching little league soccer, and basketball. Busy taking our kids to swimming lessons, hockey and piano. I was too busy to worry about politics. I mean, who cares? But then, Stephen Harper came along.

The political awakening for me was Stephen Harper’s decision to shut down parliament not once, but twice in the span of just 13 months. He got my attention then, and I became increasingly concerned about the direction he was taking this country of ours. When I think of great, or even just good leaders, I think of what they have done FOR the country. When I think of Stephen Harper however, I am forced to think of what he has done TO our country. This includes creating a structural deficit and debt that my kids, your kids, and our grandchildren will ultimately be paying for. He has created a climate of fear, mistrust and contempt, the likes of which have never before been seen and felt in our generation of government.

But there is hope…

Spring is coming and along with it come new beginnings. As a Registered Nurse, I have the genuine privilege of listening to the fears and concerns of my clients as they face economic uncertainty brought on by their injury or illness. The maps they had drawn up for their lives have suddenly been significantly altered, if not erased outright.  Hope is at times, distant. Despair close at hand.

On the wall of our office every client is able to read this caption;

“Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born.”

This quote captures the essence of my hope for the future, with my clients, and with your support, it also captures my motivation to be your next MP for the riding of Kildonan St. Paul. I believe Michael Ignatief, as the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, embodies a message of hope, not fear. Of forward, not regressive planning, and of nation building, not splitting. I am honored and humbled to have been asked to be on his team.

Over the next few days, our grassroots campaign for Kildonan St. Paul will be getting organized.  I am not a politician.  I have never done this before.  I will be counting on your support in terms of your expertise, time, your money, your ideas and your creativity.  Let there be no doubt.  We are in a David vs Goliath situation.  85% of first time candidates do not succeed.  I believe however, with a fire in my belly, that with your support, we will achieve the biggest upset in electoral history. Not only in Kildonan St. Paul, but in every riding across Winnipeg, Manitoba and  this great nation. Our seniors, and our children, and our future, deserve no less. I hope to see  you tomorrow night.  Thank you for your time.