2015 Election Questions: Liberal candidate Catherine McKenna

McKennaFive people have put forward their names to be the next federal representative for Ottawa Centre. The Mainstreeter wanted to get to know these people before Election Day, Oct. 19. We asked the same questions of each nominee. We received replies only from NDP candidate Paul Dewar and Liberal Catherine McKenna.

Why do you want to be an elected representative?
My interest in politics is rooted in a passion for finding solutions to the big challenges we face – from balancing the environment and the economy to Canada playing a more constructive role internationally.

I believe Canada is headed in the wrong direction and we need to change course. The Liberal Party has a new generation of leaders who are reaching out and listening to Canadians to build better communities and a stronger country. I believe that better is possible and I want to play a role in making this change happen.

Which of your past experiences has best prepared you for holding public office?
My professional, community and personal life experiences have all prepared me to help build a better riding and country as your MP.

As a lawyer, I have worked on international trade, competition, investment and constitutional issues. As co-founder of Canadian Lawyers Abroad, I have led an international non-profit organization addressing critical social justice issues. As a former UN Legal Advisor, I have seen the positive role Canada can play in the world, how far we have strayed from that under this government, and the need to reassert our leadership as peace-builders and a haven for refugees. As a teacher at the Munk School, I have engaged young people and fostered ambition for their futures.

As a local board and member of my community association, I have stood up for my community and embraced grassroots community-building. As a bilingual Canadian, I have prepared for public office dialogue, supported by my background in International Relations (University of Toronto and London School of Economics) and Law (McGill). And as a working mom with three children, I have mastered multi-tasking! As a parent and a woman I will bring a different perspective to federal public policy decision-making.

Do we need a memorial to the victims of communism in the federal precinct as proposed? Do we need one at all? If not, why not?
The Liberal party strongly opposes building this monument in its current location. I have written the Minister responsible for the National Capital Commission to stop construction until public consultations are held.

Subsequently I held a news conference calling for reforms to the NCC to end such partisan decisions, and to give residents of Ottawa a greater say over what happens in their city.

Do you support federal funding for a footbridge between Old Ottawa East and the Glebe at Clegg Street and Fifth Avenue?
Yes! The Liberal Party’s $125 Billion Infrastructure Fund will invest in the infrastructure our economy needs and support smaller community infrastructure projects like this one.

I will strongly advocate for the rapid advancement and building of this long-overdue footbridge as part of a greater vision for our riding. The Midtown Footbridge will strengthen the connection between Old Ottawa East and the Glebe, ultimately linking commercial hubs on Bank and at Lansdowne with emerging Main Street businesses. It will also make the Main and Ottawa Farmers’ Markets more viable and accessible to both sides of the Canal.

Improving pathways for cycling and walking is also in my local platform. The Midtown Footbridge will complete a better pedestrian and cycling grid with east/west connections, offering more choice and access to OC Transpo.

The bridge would make cycling and walking safer options for Ottawa Centre residents, including for Immaculata, St. Nicholas, Lisgar and Glebe High School students.

Which federal issues are important to you? Where do you think you can influence political dialogue and help enact change?
Since my nomination, my team and I have knocked on over 70,000 doors in Ottawa Centre to engage with residents on key issues and to hear their concerns.

I will influence dialogue and help enact change on the federal issues that Old Ottawa East’s residents have said are most important to them: a strong economy and job creation — especially for youth — environmental protection, and respect for public servants and evidence-based policy.

I will be a strong voice for residential mail delivery and for federal funding towards faster construction of the Midtown Footbridge.


Investing in Growth

Creating jobs through the largest infrastructure investment in Canadian history, including public
transit, housing, and child care centres

Supporting small business

Encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation

A strong economic team ready to grow the Canadian economy

Protecting our Environment

Working with Canada’s premiers to take immediate action on climate change

Supporting projects in clean energy

Making our national parks easier and more affordable to access

Increasing the amount of protected marine and coastal areas – nearly 10 times more

Fairness for Families

Tax cut to middle class income bracket from 22 percent to 20.5 percent will save up to $670 per person and $1,350 per couple

New tax-free Canada Child Benefit, worth up to $533 a month per child, will benefit 9 out of 10 families and lift 315,000 children out of poverty

Federal leadership on healthcare

Better compassionate support for caregivers


YOUTH – Fostering partnerships between government and business to create more jobs for young people – part of a Liberal initiative to create 40,000 jobs for youth every year.

ENVIRONMENT – Protecting the Ottawa River, better public transit and safer cycling paths, and attracting green jobs to city.

PUBLIC SERVICE – Respecting public servants and collective bargaining, and reforming the National Capital Commission to increase transparency and accountability to the people who live here.

OTTAWA’S NEW CENTRAL LIBRARY – Advocating for the library to be built in Ottawa Centre, and for federal funding to create economic and social benefits for local businesses and residents.

HOUSING – Implementing a National Housing Strategy to increase availability of affordable and social housing.

CUT WASTE – Reducing print mailings from Members of Parliament in favour of cost-effective digital communications like e-newsletters.

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