Election candidates

There are 11 candidates vying for election as Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, most of them women. The Glebe Report contacted those candidates for whom we could find information and received statements from eight. Presented in alpabetical order, here is what they have to say to Glebe Report readers.

Shelby Bertrand
Animal Protection Party of Canada

My name is Shelby Bertrand. I’m the Ottawa Centre candidate for the Animal Protection Party of Canada (APPC). We’re North America’s first political party to bring animal rights into mainstream political discussion. APPC grew from a private animal-rescue organization concerned with conservation efforts and wildlife relocation. We later became a federal party and now have a robust platform with positions on domains such as healthcare, education and the economy. We’re by no means a “one-issue party”. While only APPC gives attention to animal rights, animal rights is not all APPC gives attention to.

On many areas of our platform, our party takes inspiration from models instituted or being explored in Europe. APPC believes in education as a public investment that should be fully funded in both academic fields and trades. APPC supports electoral reform and, if elected, would institute proportional representation. APPC also supports universal basic income. APPC is currently polishing an addition to our platform: a position on the issues faced by Canada’s indigenous peoples.

APPC is prepared more than any other political party to give the environment the overdue attention it deserves. For too long politicians have been rewarded for environmental talk but no action. For too long the misinformation and self-interest of leaders have stifled change. Now our window of opportunity for this change is closing. We face a new level of urgency with our climate, resources and the well-being of future generations. Environmentalism as a movement traditionally demands change solely from consumers. It’s neither realistic nor fair to all consumers to put lifestyle change in their hands. As a candidate for APPC, I personally want to forward our mission of freeing environmentalism from its history as a consumer-dependent movement. I would strive to hold Canada’s institutional framework accountable for its part in the change needed by people, the planet and everything we share it with.

Carol Clemenhagen
Conservative Party of Canada

I share voters’ concerns about today’s cost of living and affordability worries for the future. I am also very disappointed in the incumbent Liberal MP’s absence on local issues.

After a solemn election promise in 2015 to balance the budget, and despite a favourable economy, Justin Trudeau delivered four years of successive deficits, this year’s finale topping $20 billion. Federal debt is more than $700 billion and growing.

Claiming to lift kids from poverty with increases to the Canada Child Benefit, a program which Conservatives will protect when elected, Liberals conveniently overlook the burden they are simultaneously loading onto the backs of these same children with a growing federal debt.

On climate action, the incumbent Liberal MP failed in her prime responsibility which was to work constructively with the provinces and territories. Canada’s emissions are now likely to be nearly 20 per cent above our 2020 reduction target.

Our Conservative plan is to give Canada our best chance at reaching the Paris targets, driving emissions standards and business to the highest standards of green technology to make real progress on reducing GHG emissions quickly.

I want Ottawa Centre to have a strong voice in a competent and caring Conservative government. A government that advances health care and climate action, that fosters a strong economy investing in basic research and infrastructure.

For example, we need to work toward a transit infrastructure link between Ottawa and Gatineau across a restored Prince of Wales Bridge; a LeBreton Flats vision that creates a sense of place for that scarce urban green space worthy of a national capital; and sewer and water infrastructure investments that stop untreated sewage dumps into the Ottawa River.

Residents too often feel their concerns are discounted. The incumbent MP has been absent, silent or unhelpful on local issues like the Château Laurier addition, Tunney’s Pasture development, LeBreton Flats, new Civic campus, Ottawa Hospital, National Capital Commission capabilities.

My focus is this riding. I will seek out residents’ input, meeting frequently with local community associations to engage Ottawa Centre’s broad views on issues. I’m asking for your vote on October 21.

Coreen Corcoran
Libertarian Party of Canada

I grew up in Ottawa and have watched it become a vibrant, exciting city. The Glebe provides a unique walkable lifestyle for many people in the riding who live, work, and socialize in the neighbourhood. People outside the area are drawn here because it has character that is missing in newer developments.

Small businesses are the engine of the Glebe. Unfortunately, government regulations make it difficult for many owners to stay above water. Government-enforced minimum wages, new statutory holidays, increased CPP deductions, and payroll overhead put a strain on a business owner’s time and bottom line. Prices rise as a result and may ultimately force them to close. Businesses should have more control over how they operate and be allowed to open when the owners, employees, and their customers want.

The mix of long-term and new residents in the Glebe is a reflection of the changing demographics we are seeing across Canada. More households are headed by single people and seniors, but our governments focus their policies on the middle-class family. Libertarian Party of Canada ideas such as increased personal income tax exemptions and lower income tax rates will have a greater and more immediate impact on everyone’s standard of living.

The environment is a significant issue this election. Our environmental program includes free market solutions that eliminate subsidies to all industries, which levels the playing field for inspiration and innovation.

Outside of specific issues, I’m concerned about the voter apathy and disengagement I’m hearing at the door. Some blame the party system and FPTP [first past the post], but voters have to take some responsibility as well. I am encouraged by young people who ask questions and are eager to vote, so there may be hope yet.

This will be my fourth time running for office. My day job is Senior Business Intelligence Analyst, and I have worked in the private and public sectors both as an employee and a consultant. I enjoy travelling, cooking, gardening, golfing, and the occasional running event. I am a Redblacks season ticket holder and share my home with my husband and our dog and cat.

Chris Jones

My impression of how the residents of the Glebe are doing in late 2019 is acquired from walking through the neighbourhood while dropping off my brochures. I see significant signs of depreciated housing stock with many porches, steps and entranceways showing signs of age and disrepair. This is not in any way a criticism but rather a recognition that the residents of this lovely neighbourhood have fallen victim to the economic circumstances that afflict so many Canadians. Although many residents of the Glebe are working hard, they appear to be short of capital to devote to necessary renovations and repairs and, as a result, have left their residences to the unforgiving ravages of time and weather. Clearly, this is not a uniform phenomenon as I have seen a number of newly-renovated homes – the exception, though, rather than the norm.

I also see barcodes everywhere on mailboxes in the neighborhood and the regular presence of courier trucks. This is possibly an innocent trend suggesting people are online shopping, but it may also point to more people running home-based businesses or working at home. This is a sign of changing patterns of employment and alterations to the local labour market. Many older Glebe homes have been subdivided into apartments and many of these look run down and starved of investment. Overall, it looks like a community undergoing a forced transition to a new economic model, exactly what it is.

As the MP for the area, my objective would be to take a broader and more integrated look at the macro forces responsible for the granular changes I have observed in the Glebe. These are vexing issues not easily resolved by some tax break or boutique spending program. The answer lies in the creation of Citizens’ Assemblies which will meet to discuss and debate the thorny but critical questions of equity, a fairer and more just distribution of economic opportunity, a revised tax system that places less onus on individuals and more on corporations, and the need for our scarce collective resources to be spent on key priorities such as housing/shelter, environmental protection, health care and education. Please see www.canadavision21.ca for more of my thoughts about how to fix a political system that no longer responds to the public interest.

Angela Keller-Herzog
Green Party of Canada

My platform: Healthy people. Healthy economy. Healthy Planet.

I’ve lived in Ottawa Centre, on unceded Algonquin territory, for more than 30 years. I never considered running for office until December 18, 2018, when the Liberals announced an additional $1.6 billion in subsidies for the oil-and-gas industry. This was well after the Kinder Morgan $4.5Bn pipeline-purchase decision. I was appalled. Fighting the climate crisis means dramatically reducing emissions, not expanding fossil-fuel production.

We need action. A pivot to a clean-energy low-carbon economy with lots of new jobs is critical for the health of the planet and the health of the economy. The old parties are simply incapable of turning the ship, are too beholden to oil-and-gas and financial-sector interests and too embedded in the very small Canadian corporate elite.

Elizabeth May will not lose sight of the Paris target and break her promises.

I’m an active member of the community and have a track record of getting things done. I’ve served on the Glebe Community Association Board since 2013, co-chaired the Ottawa-wide CAFES (Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability), co-founded Ottawa Centre Refugee Action and led the Glashan Schoolyard Greening project.  On the hill, I would continue to advocate for local issues, notably:

Managing intensification so we create liveable communities with affordable housing.

Increasing urban canopy coverage to 40%.

Investing in comprehensive public transit and cycling infrastructure.

Keeping the Ottawa River free of nuclear waste.

Eliminating single-use plastics that have ready alternatives.

As an economist, I aim to address the wealth disparity by ensuring the highest corporate and private income earners pay their fair share of taxes to improve the quality of life for all Canadians. Greens support a guaranteed liveable income.

In this election you have an important choice to make. Not a choice between political parties, but a choice between futures – for us, for our children, and for our planet. The climate crisis demands greater political courage, leadership, and will than the old parties have shown.

It’s time to step up. We can do this together.

Catherine McKenna
Liberal Party of Canada

A vote for me is a vote for a candidate who listens and delivers on the issues that matter most to you.

During the 2015 election, you told me you wanted a midtown footbridge built. Today, the Flora crossing is a reality.

In the last election, Glebe residents also expressed strong support for a new central library for our city. I committed to fight for this and delivered federal funding for a partnership between the Ottawa Library and Library and Archives Canada, to build a national world class library in Ottawa Centre.

The environment is also among Glebe residents’ top priorities. In 2017, the federal government invested in the second phase of LRT to grow clean public transit. New funding was also secured to increase safe cycling infrastructure – on NCC multi-use pathways and our streets.

Also, the Ontario tree-planting program – cut by the Ford government – was saved.

Now, there is a national plan to eliminate single-use plastics.

Since 2015, $216 million in federal funding has been invested in new affordable housing in Ottawa Centre, creating new homes for more than 1,600 people.

In the last four years, federal support for student jobs in Ottawa Centre has doubled.

For this election, my local platform has three themes – the greenest capital city, prosperity and job creation, and inclusion, to ensure our city remains welcoming to all.

If re-elected, I’ll work with government and housing-sector partners to accelerate progress on more affordable housing.

I’ll champion more investments for safe pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure, including repairing the Prince of Wales Bridge; increasing the tree canopy in Ottawa Centre to make our summers cooler and easier to bear, especially for seniors; and for our city to have more electric buses.

I will also work with the private sector to make Ottawa a hub for green-tech innovation and to create more good jobs.

If you honour me with your vote on Monday, October 21, I’ll continue to give everything I’ve got to represent your values and priorities – and deliver results – as the Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre.

Merylee Sevilla
People’s Party of Canada

As the People’s Party of Canada candidate for Ottawa-Centre, I am running because I’ve always been taught to be the change you want. No one is perfect nor does everyone have an answer but sometimes, to bring change in areas of affordable housing, taxes or education, one has to have first-hand experience of the systems they want to improve. I have been both blessed and cursed in these facets which is what motivates and drives my desire for positive change.

As someone who worked with the NDP during the late Jack Layton’s leadership, I believed in their message for representing the everyday working Canadian. This has changed. As someone who saw the Conservatives as being fiscally responsible with Stephen Harper, their leader now has shown indifference to policies. As someone whose friends believed in Liberal humility, I see they’ve become discouraged and betrayed. I may not have much but if elected, I would ensure to always give back to my community and country.

If elected in Ottawa-Centre, my first action would be to address Lebreton Flats and roadways. For Lebreton, I would work with all levels of government and parties to see how can we properly turn this land into something that benefits all. Turning it into another Lansdowne does not help the residents who are struggling, yet simply leaving it untouched does not help the community. I believe there are ways that we can get projects moving and going – and this would be one of my top priorities that I would encourage and initiate. With roadways, I would work to improve the roads for all users as right now, as there are way too many reckless deaths on the roads.

Along with tackling this, I would give back to Ottawa-Centre organizations and make a personal monetary donation to help their program or services.  As long as I am given the privilege of representing Ottawa-Centre in Parliament, I would continue this tradition during my terms. There are families who are struggling under the government’s lack of funding. I want to give back.

Emilie Taman
New Democratic Party of Canada

The status quo isn’t working. Two Canadian billionaires have amassed as much wealth as 11 million other Canadians combined, while almost a million of our fellow citizens rely on foodbanks. Climate scientists say we have 11 years to avert climate catastrophe, but we continue to approve new pipelines and ramp up tar sands production.

I’m running for the NDP because I’m sick of governments that sell high and deliver low, that make lofty promises but fail to deliver. I’ve dedicated my life to public service, both as a federal prosecutor and as a former member of the Old Ottawa South Community Association board. I will bring this same dedication to Parliament if given the honour to serve as your next MP.

Real Action on Climate Change

Climate leaders don’t buy pipelines, especially the same week as Parliament declares a climate emergency. But that’s exactly what the Liberals did.

An NDP government will treat the climate crisis with the urgency it deserves. We’ll ask big polluters and the ultra-rich to pay for a massive expansion of renewable energy, with net carbon-free electricity by 2030. We’ll embark on the largest home retrofit program Canada has ever seen and invest in fare-free, electric public transit.

In making these changes, we will leave no one behind. Oil and gas workers are not our enemy, climate change is our enemy. That’s why we’ll implement a just transition for workers in high-emitting industries, equipping them with the skills they need to help build a green economy.

Making every vote count

We are committed to electoral reform, where no one’s vote is wasted. Our prime minister promised that 2015 would be “the last election under first past the post” but broke his promise when the committee gave him an answer he didn’t want.

I’ve heard from so many people in the Glebe who feel betrayed by the Liberals’ broken promise on electoral reform – it’s one of the issues that motivated me to run in this election.

You can rely on us to never stop fighting for a more proportional voting system where your vote always counts.


Other Ottawa Centre Candidates
Responses had not been received at press time from Ottawa Centre candidates Stuart Ryan (Communist Party of Canada), Marie-Chantal Leriche (Christian Heritage Party of Canada) and Giang Ha Thu Vo (Independent).

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