By Patrick Brennan
Three trips on the election campaign trail with limited results to show for it have not dampened Ray Monteith's enthusiasm.
Monteith, 78, will be carrying the Freedom Party of Ontario banner in the June 3 provincial election for the Elgin-Middlesex-London riding.
He's the first to admit he's changed party lines at least twice in his life. At one point, he was a loyal Progressive Conservative supporter, and then a Liberal party backer.
At one point he met a representative of the Freedom Party who asked him to run as a candidate and since then, he's been part of the party.
"I do it because I want to keep the party name in the forefront," he said.
As a Freedom Party member, Monteith, a retired Conrail conductor, said he believes in less government and control.
"We are in too much of a police state," he said.
The Freedom Party stands for eliminating government waste and cutting taxes, Monteith said.
"The government wastes millions and billions of tax dollars," he said.
One of the biggest areas of waste occurs in the health system, Monteith maintains.
"We're all milking the health system too much," he said. "I think running to a doctor when you have a cold should stop. I think you should see a nurse. There's too much waste. There has to be some changes, but everybody's afraid to make changes."
While he is still enthusiastic about running in this year's election, Monteith said he got a late start on his campaign.
"It was hard to get going this year," he said. With limited resources, he intends to focus his efforts on canvassing main business streets. The Freedom Party supplied lawn signs which can now be seen dotting the new riding.
There are a number of issues he would like to raise in this campaign. One of them is where a taxpayer directs education taxes.
"I think each person should be able to send their tax dollars to the school board of their choice, not just the separate or public system."
It's the same platform he used when he ran for school trustee in Yarmouth several years ago. At that time, Monteith recalls, he was within 100 votes of being elected.
Name: Ray Monteith
Community of Residence: Central Elgin
Family: widower, father of two sons and two daughters.
Education: completed high school in St Thomas
Employment: retired, worked as a conductor for Conrail
Community involvement: Member of Away-We-Go Square Dancers and Bershire Beavers Square Dancers
last updated on April 28, 2002