By Charlie Senack
Canadians will be hitting the polls on September 20, 2021, after a snap federal election was called. In the riding of Carleton, three names are currently earmarked to be on the ballot.
During the last federal election in 2019, Conservative incumbent MP Pierre Poilievre won the riding with more than 46 per cent of the vote — 5,703 more ballots than his Liberal opponent.
Liberal candidate Chris Rodgers received 38.23 per cent of the vote; New Democrat candidate Kevin Hua received 9.34 per cent of the vote; Green Party candidate Gordon Kubanek received 4.94 per cent of the vote; and the People’s Party of Canada received 1.14 per cent of the vote.
This time around, Poilievre has put his name forward as the Conservative party’s candidate for the seventh time, and the Liberals have elected Gustave Roy as their candidate. The People’s Party of Canada has chosen Peter Crawley as their candidate. Both the New Democrats and Greens had not selected a candidate at the time of publication.
The riding of Carleton has a population of 102,918 people, and 88,701 eligible voters.
Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre is running in his seventh federal election. First elected in 2004, Poilievre played a key role under Stephen Harpers government, serving as the minister of state for democratic reform, and then minister of employment and social development.
In an interview with the Manotick Messenger, Poilievre said Canadians need a Conservative government to help rebuild the country following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Life is becoming unaffordable. People can’t afford homes, gas or food, which is utterly ridiculous,” he said. “We have more land, lumber and labour than anywhere else in the world, and yet we can’t build affordable houses. We have the second biggest reserves of petroleum, and yet gas is a buck 30 a litre. We have the best farmers and farmers fields, yet people can’t buy a basket of wholesome food because it’s too expensive.”
The Conservative Party of Canada has spoken out against mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for federal workers, and those who want to board a train or plane. The Trudeau Liberals however said they would make vaccinations mandatory in those sectors.
Poilievre said while vaccines should strongly be recommended, it’s a personal choice on whether someone wants to receive the jab or not.
“I think we should encourage vaccinations and give public servants the choice of getting vaccinated or getting tested every day to go to work,” he said. “Rapid testing allows us to test people and get a result back in 15-20 minutes.”
As a result of the pandemic, many Canadians have had the chance to work from home. Poilievre says he would now like to make this a regular occurrence — also helping in Canada’s fight on climate change.
“I think COVID has shown us that public servants can get their jobs done from home and do so very efficiently,” states Poilievre. “This is a policy that will cut pollution, commute times, traffic, transit and infrastructure bills, and real estate bills for taxpayers. We have spent a fortune on buildings that are empty all night and houses that are empty all day.”
Under this hybrid model, offices would instead be equipped with flexible space and desks which could be booked in advance for days when you’re needed in the office. Poilievre says this is where the future is going, and would also work on encouraging this office environment for the private sector.
Federal offices could then be converted to affordable rental apartments, adds Poilievre, a way of helping with the city’s low income rental shortage. The Conservative government however has not provided any details on how this would be funded or what work would be involved.
Last week the Conservative party landed in hot water after launching an attack ad against the Liberals, with Justin Trudeau’s face superimposed over that of Veruca Salt, the spoiled child in the older version of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ who sings “I want it now” before things go south. Even multiple Conservative MP’s said the video was tasteless and didn’t represent the party.
Poilievre said he didn’t spend much time watching the video before it was removed from Twitter due to copyright infringement, but didn’t seem to feel it was a problem.
“I would like to apologize to Willy Wonka for comparing him to Justin Trudeau (because) nobody wants to be compared to Justin Trudeau,” he said. “So I think Willy Wonka deserves better than that campaign. I did not really watch it or think of it much.”
Gustave Roy Running for Liberals
The Carleton Liberals have selected Gustave Roy as their candidate in this election.
Roy has called Ottawa home for the past 25 years and lives in Gloucester just outside of the riding. He studied at Carleton University and married his wife who works at the Montfort Hospital in 2003. Three years later their son Thomas was born.
“I decided to run because I am convinced that I can make a difference. I am not a career politician; I have spent the last 25 years in the private sector,” said Roy. “I have worked in financial services and health services. I really feel that I can make a difference for the constituents of Carleton.”
Roy said he’s running for the Liberal party because he agrees with their platform. He also is pleased with how they have stepped up to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the face of uncertainty I think the Liberals stepped up to the plate for Canadians. They made sure that they promoted health, safety, and made sure that Canadians were well supported until we had access to vaccines,” said Roy.
When it comes to mandating COVID shots, Roy says he’s in full agreement.
“I am for that. I think being vaccinated is very important. We have gone through all of this collectively,” he said. “Vaccines are the most important tool we have to get back to life as we envision it and want it.
“When you are travelling on a plane or you are going into a public space, I think it’s important that you feel confident that people around you are fully vaccinated,” Roy added.
Other issues Roy is passionate about include the environment and economy.
“I really believe that the environment and the economy go hand in hand,” he said. “Our future prosperity is going to happen through the transformation of our economy. The time has also changed: People want to be optimistic about their future — I am and I think there is no reason not to be.”
The federal election is being held as many parts of Canada — including Ontario — enter a fourth wave in the COVID-19 pandemic with new cases in the province topping 500 daily. Health experts here say the situation will get worse before it gets better, with a tough fall and winter approaching. It’s news like this which led to many parties calling on Justin Trudeau to hold off on an election until we have a better idea of what lies ahead.
Roy says he believes it’s a perfect opportunity for leadership to change in the riding of Carleton, and adds with high vaccination rates, it’s a safe time to head to the polls.
“I think it’s important to check in with Canadians,” he said. “A lot has happened in the last couple of years and we are making a lot of important decisions on behalf of Canadians. I don’t see a problem holding an election at this time; vaccination rates are high and we are opening up; life is returning to normal.”