Konstantine is a homesteader, community builder,
human rights activist, and is endlessly optimistic that better is not only possible but within reach.

Having grown up in Peterborough as a first-generation Canadian who worked in his family’s pizzeria, Konstantine witnessed firsthand the impacts of factory closures on businesses and households.

Farmers and factory workers have often gotten the short end of the stick in trade deals that have been slowly eroding our food sovereignty and our manufacturing independence to foreign entities, taking into account the interests of Bay Street over popular needs. Whether it be racialized, Indigenous, and LGBTQS2 people who continue to be systemically discriminated against, elderly people facing abysmal conditions in long-term care due to a lack of accountability from the companies that own them, veterans who return with PTSD and lifelong injuries being offered little by way of support, and members of the disabled community being offered medical assistance in dying before being offered the most basic supports possible so that they can lead full lives if they so choose ‒ they all deserve better.

I believe that being a member of Parliament is first and foremost about service to others; it is about uplifting and advocating for the most marginalized members of a community; it is about demanding more for the people the government is supposed to belong to. It angers me that so many politicians have failed to stand up for their constituents. The largest corporations and the richest among us have a much louder voice in OUR Parliament than the people who keep this country going.

Running in 2019 was an incredibly illuminating experience, seeing just how many people do not feel represented by their government and just how many people are struggling in our communities. 

I was raised in my parent’s pizzeria and I grew up listening to stories from our customers, most of whom were Union workers at the local GE factory.

 

When the plant downsized and eventually closed, I watched as my parents lost their business. My parents never had much money, but they worked very hard to give me everything they could while telling stories of childhoods that they both had where they experienced true poverty.

My parents eventually bought a diner that they still run to this day, though with the pandemic they like many have been forced to close.

 

When I left home to pursue a post secondary education I ended up in the United States where I met my now spouse Robert at a marriage equality rally. We got engaged at a protest in NYC, when Proposition 8 passed in California, overturning marriage equality in that state by popular vote the same day that Obama was elected. 

My parents never had a lot but everything they had they they gave to me. They also constantly would show me what community meant. It was not uncommon to have acquaintances of my parents sleeping on our sofa during hard times or for us to need to make a quick stop at someone’s home to drop off groceries or essentials.

Being a Canadian in a country without federal marriage equality though meant that in spite of the fact that Robert and I fought hard for our right to marry in the state of New York where we lived I had no path to immigration to stay because our marriage was not federally recognized. 

I was ultimately forced to leave, I sponsored Robert to immigrate to Canada and we had to maintain two residences while we waited eighteen months for that to go through. I was working as a server in a restaurant that was not very busy and I am not going to lie, it was a real struggle. When Robert finally was approved to come and join me in Montreal where I was living it felt like rebuilding a life from scratch. 

Ultimately we saw ourselves drawn to a more rural existence and so we bought a small homestead in this region that we have grown to love.

We can and must do better by sending someone to Parliament who is willing to fight for everyone in Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, some of the hardest working people that I know. They are community focused and want to see each other uplifted, they care about the forests and natural beauty around them, they value bilingualism and inclusion of all people, they are fair, they are kind and they deserve a government that reflects those values.