As part of the Glebe Report’s coverage of the upcoming federal election, we sent the following questions to Ottawa Centre candidates. As national media are covering party platforms, we invited Ottawa Centre candidates to use this opportunity to indicate in the Glebe Report their own views on issues they consider of particular relevance to Glebe residents. We put two questions to them:
What are you hearing from Glebe residents on their doorsteps, and how will you address these concerns if elected?
What do you consider to be the top federal governing priorities for Ottawa and for the Glebe neighbourhood in the next four years, and how do you plan to address them?
Their responses, printed as received, follow.
Catherine McKenna, Liberal Party of Canada
Glebe doorsteps concerns: Since 2014, I’ve knocked on the doors of thousands of Glebe residents to hear your views on making our community more vibrant and the quality of life better for everyone.
You’ve told me you want Glebe businesses to thrive, more jobs for young people, action to protect the environment, respect for public servants, and residents to have a greater voice on local issues like safer cycling, national monument locations and residential mail delivery.
As your Member of Parliament, I’ll deliver practical solutions to local priorities by working collaboratively with community and elected leaders, including Mayor Watson, ward councillors and Yasir Naqvi, M.P.P. for Ottawa Centre.
Already, I’ve called on the National Capital Commission to create separate bike pathways in Ottawa Centre, and become more accountable to local residents.
I’ll also work to reduce partisan mailings from Members of Parliament in urban ridings, in favour of less expensive digital communications. This will reduce waste and save millions of dollars.
Securing federal funding toward the proposed Fifth-Clegg canal footbridge, which will benefit Glebe residents, will also be a priority, if I’m elected your Member of Parliament.
Top federal priorities for Ottawa and the Glebe: Top federal priorities for Ottawa and the Glebe, which I support, include: economic development and job creation, new transit investments, more affordable housing units, Ottawa River water quality protection, plus support for middle class families and those who need help the most.
The Liberal’s new Canada Child Tax benefit will help nine in 10 families and raise 315,000 children out of poverty. Middle class families will receive a tax cut, pension income splitting will be protected and Old Age Security eligibility reduced to 65.
I know better is possible – for Canada and Ottawa Centre. I hope to have the privilege of helping achieve this by representing you as your strong and responsive voice in Parliament, and in the Glebe.
About Catherine McKenna: Board member, Glebe Community Association, Elizabeth Fry Society; teacher, Munk School of Global Affairs; co-founder, Canadian Lawyers Abroad; international trade lawyer; United Nations negotiator; degrees in international relations (University of Toronto and London School of Economics) and law (McGill); bilingual.
1098b Somerset Street West
Dean T. Harris, Libertarian Party of Canada
Glebe doorstep concerns and top federal priorities for Ottawa and the Glebe: The essence of every election campaign is how government resources are to be put to work. Canadians from coast to coast to coast proudly celebrate the diversity of our population. Likewise, individual Canadians hold various priorities and goals for themselves, their families, businesses and communities. My platform, and that of the Libertarian Party of Canada, aims to return the power of choice to individual Canadians to best direct their lives as they see fit. Our proposals include a new simplified tax code with a personal exemption of $17,300 plus additional exemptions for students, seniors, people with disabilities and dependent children, as well as a decentralized health care funding model for more responsive medical care.
About Dean Harris: A student of linguistics at Carleton University, Dean is excited to present an alternative to the big government parties for the residents of Ottawa Centre. Dean has volunteered with the Lions Foundation of Canada, fostering service dogs, and enjoys spending his winters on the ski hills where he works as an instructor.
70 Parent Avenue
New Democratic Party of Canada
Glebe doorsteps concerns: I am fortunate to have spent nine years representing the most politically engaged constituency in Canada. The number one message I take away from doorsteps in the Glebe, and across Ottawa Centre, is the urgent desire for change in government and direction. After a decade of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, people are tired of mismanagement and scandal and ready for change. If re-elected, I’ll keep working to move ahead on a new, strong and progressive path – with principled defence of civil liberties, a clear commitment to act on climate change, and resolute support for healthcare and other public services.
Top federal priorities for Ottawa and the Glebe: Ottawa has one of the most expensive childcare systems in the country. After decades of broken promises on childcare, it’s time to finally follow through and create one million affordable childcare spaces at no more than $15/day.
I’ve seen firsthand how cuts to Canada Post have affected people in Ottawa Centre who depend on home mail services. I’ll continue to advocate for a fairer and more consultative process that sustains Canada Post and preserves door-to-door delivery.
Current plans for the Memorial to the Victims of Communism near the Supreme Court of Canada are wrongheaded and inappropriate. I’ll keep pushing hard to move the monument to a more suitable location.
I am committed to preserving our city’s beautiful waterways. I want a stronger federal commitment to protecting the Ottawa River, the Rideau Canal and all of their offshoots.
I’m proud to share this riding with many public service employees. It’s time for a federal government that is proud of them too – one that respects the collective bargaining process, and lets our public service think and speak freely.
I hope to help bring in these changes and more as part of an NDP government.
About Paul Dewar: I was born and raised in Ottawa Centre. As a teacher, and as your MP since 2006, I am passionate about working together on issues that matter here – environmental protection, responsible development and helping families working to make ends meet.
725 Somerset Street West
Damian Konstantinakos, Conservative Party of Canada
Glebe doorsteps concerns: While canvassing, I’ve been pleasantly surprised when people thank me for a government that keeps their taxes low. While city and provincial services and utilities costs have been skyrocketing, the Harper government has helped all of us keep more money in our pockets with lower personal taxes and tax credits for families and seniors.
Small business taxes have been cut as well, making it easier for them to create jobs. A small business earning $500,000 now pays about $40,000 less than before.
At the door, I also hear that people are very concerned about the global economy and its impact on Canadians. They agree with me that now is not the time to spend deeper into a deficit.
Top federal priorities for Ottawa and the Glebe: So my priorities are those of my fellow Glebe residents. The attack on October 22 showed us that Ottawa is not immune from ISIL-inspired terrorism. In fact, we’re a target. When we pass tough laws to combat crime and terrorism on our soil, and when we send our armed forces personnel to defeat terrorism and prevent it from coming to Canada, that is a priority we all need to support, unlike the NDP and the Liberals.
I’m also very proud of the investments the Harper government has made in Ottawa as part of the largest and longest-lasting infrastructure plan in Canadian history. There’s more yet to come! Some citywide projects like the additional $1 billion for light rail and the $62 million for the Ottawa River Action Plan are noteworthy. But so too are the smaller programs from the Economic Action Plan to benefit directly the people in the Glebe, like the Bronson sidewalks and Sunnyside Library.
So let’s keep taxes low, protect our citizens from terrorism and crime, encourage employment growth and build our future – all within our means and a balanced budget!
I hope I can earn your vote.
About Damian Konstantinakos: Damian was born and raised in Ottawa. He and his wife live in the Glebe with their two young children. He works as an engineer and business manager in the technology sector, bringing Ottawa-developed technology to markets around the world.
Green Party of Canada
Glebe doorsteps concerns: I am hearing, most often, that Ottawa Centre residents want a change in government. Most are fed up with the Harper regime and want to be rid of the Conservatives as quickly as possible. Secondly, I am hearing concerns over the Energy East pipeline project and rightly so, I think. The pipeline will traverse many streams and rivers that flow into the Ottawa River, which provides Ottawa with its drinking water supply. It’s a 40-year-old pipe that Trans Canada Pipelines wants to retrofit in order for tar sands bitumen to flow through it. (It currently carries liquid natural gas and there are additional concerns that the loss of this pipeline, to tar sand conveyance, will create higher prices for heating fuel in Ottawa!) Additionally, it will only create a small number of short-term pipeline retrofit jobs and the economic benefits to residents will be miniscule, at best. It is a bad idea and it is not a matter of IF there will be a catastrophic leak, but…WHEN.
Top federal priorities for Ottawa and the Glebe: If elected, Greens would make it a priority to effectively kill the Energy East pipeline project.
It is evident that Ottawa has fallen behind in the provision of world-class green and efficient public transit. The long overdue LRT project is looking good, however, and all three levels of government have committed to the $3 billion required for the phases of the project already on the drawing board. But MORE needs to be done and the federal government needs to take a “long view” of the situation and to get the ball rolling on LRT extensions to Orleans and Kanata. Also of critical importance are issues surrounding the funding for social housing and, of course, creating the climate for a robust green technology and jobs development program.
About Tom Milroy: Tom Milroy was born and educated in western Canada. After a 20-year career with the City of Saskatoon, he moved to Ottawa Centre in 2003 to commence work as a labour relations and human resources professional. Tom is a partner/owner in an Ottawa Centre recruitment-placement business.