The Times put some questions to the Liberal Party candidate in the upcoming by-election.
NG Times: You came very close to defeating the Conservatives in the last election. Do you feel Liberal support has grown since then, and why?
Mary Jean McFall: In 2015, we tripled the vote, our best result in the riding since 1993. Since then, momentum in Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes has been growing. Many Canadians have benefitted from the real progress that we’ve been making to invest in this community and grow our economy.
For months, I’ve been knocking on doors and hearing the same thing ‑ it’s time for a change away from the Conservatives in the riding. Justin Trudeau and I are the only team with a positive plan to strengthen our middle class, create well‑paying new jobs, and make life better for families right here in our communities.
NGTimes: Has the move to Conservatives in Ontario helped or hindered Liberal prospects in the federal competition?
MJM: We can’t afford to return to the same failed policies of Stephen Harper that left too many families in our region behind. But that’s exactly what Andrew Scheer wants to do ‑ echoing many of the same policies for which Doug Ford is already seeing significant backlash.
Since 2015, Canadians have created over 700,000 new jobs, Canada’s unemployment rate is at its lowest in over 40 years, and last year we saw that Canada had the fastest growing economy in the G7. This is the change that I want to bring to he riding.
My time as Chief of Staff to Canada’s Minister of Agriculture and Agri‑food has given me a unique understanding of our evolving local economy and agriculture communities across Canada.
My personal experience in the agricultural sector allowed me to work towards bold solutions for these industries across Canada. And now, I want to help bring that experience and understanding to the farming families here in our region, so we can create good new jobs and grow our industries.
NGTimes: What are the issues that face the riding in the coming years?
MJM: I’ve been knocking on doors for months, and I keep hearing about the same things ‑ that we need a strong voice in government who will work hard to continue delivering local infrastructure investments, good new jobs, and new affordable housing. My priority is to ensure that the riding will have a growing economy so we all can feel secure raising our families at home like I did mine.
The Liberal plan will create good new jobs for the local economy and invest now in better roads and bridges, to get you where you’re going faster. We need to support Highways like Highway 43 in North Grenville to ensure that our local infrastructure matches the growing population of families settling in the area. Our seniors need to be supported too, and that’s why the Liberal government is investing in better health care and home care, and stronger pensions ‑ because families should be able to count on a secure and dignified retirement after a lifetime of hard work.
NG Times: How do you feel about the trade disputes with the US, and the Trade Agreement with the EU, and how it affects the supply management system?
MJM: Trade is important. We need to find markets for our Canadian goods so we can continue to grow our economy and keep creating well‑paying new jobs for Canadian families. That’s why securing good trade deals with markets around the world is important for Canada.
Canada negotiated hard with the US and Mexico and held out for a good deal. The new USMCA will create good new jobs, strengthen our middle class, grow our economy, and expand Canada’s trade in North America. The Liberal government has successfully preserved key elements of the original NAFTA, while building on the agreement to expand opportunity and improve protections for workers across North America.
I know the importance of our Supply Management system for Canadian farmers and the agri‑food sector first hand. I grew up on a farm; the sector has been an important part of my career. The Liberal government understands that a strong dairy industry and a competitive agricultural sector are vital to Canada’s prosperity, creating good jobs, growing the middle class, and bringing high‑quality products to the tables of Canadian consumers.