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Interview with Phil Somers, LPC Nomination Candidate Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston

This is another interview I’m posting today that I’ve done with Liberal Party candidates or nomination candidates. Today’s is with Phil Somers, seeking the nomination in Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston (a newly created riding in 2015). I have to applaud Mr. Somers, as he has seen the other interviews I’ve done on here and contacted me, asking if I’d consider interviewing him and went out of his way to provide answers.. so thank you to him for his initiative.
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For those who haven’t visited your website yet, can you tell our readers why you’ve decided to run for the nomination?

I have always been interested in federal politics but during my 28 years in the Air Force followed by 12 years of public service in the Department of National Defence and NATO, I was not allowed to be actively involved in politics. After retirement, I had more time to watch Question Period, the House of Commons debates, and Power and Politics and Power Play on CBC and CTV. It quickly became apparent that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives were trying to govern Canada in a way that caused me a huge amount of concern. Gone were honesty, accountability, integrity, cooperation, collaboration, rational decision-making, fairness, compassion, and even pride in Canada. The essence of democracy was being gutted as Harper decimated the effectiveness of the House of Commons, controlled his Cabinet with an iron fist, and attacked and tried to discredit the Supreme Court of Canada. He replaced these pillars of our democracy with a Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) that is running the show in terms of telling Cabinet Ministers what they can and must say and do, drafting and controlling legislation and generally enacting Harper’s ideology. This form of authoritarianism and control by one individual as a replacement for our balanced system of democracy is very troubling. After a lot of worrying, talking and complaining, I realized that someone had to step forward; someone with the passion, the capability, the time and genuine desire to do everything possible to end this destruction of the Canada we once had and want to have again. A pivotal event then happened. Marc Garneau, who I have known since 1966 when we were cadets in military college, asked me to join his team for his Leadership campaign. Being on Marc’s team provided a wonderful conduit to serious involvement in the Liberal Party. And during that process, Ted Hsu, MP for Kingston and the Islands, suggested that I should consider seeking the nomination in my riding. And ever since, I have been devoted to winning Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston for the Liberals and helping to bring a Liberal Government to Ottawa.

If a Justin Trudeau government is elected (regardless of majority or minority), are there any issues that you’d like to champion in that government if you were elected as an MP?

The most obvious thing that has to be fixed is of course democracy. Priority must be given to high-tech, high-quality employment in a 21st century knowledge-based economy based on value-added industries and jobs of the future such as in green and alternate energy rather than 19-20th century raw material, manual-labour-intensive jobs. But along with all that, we must restore to our veterans the honour and respect they deserve, together with the medical and financial care that they so desperately need, and have earned in service to our country.

There is a saying that “all politics is local”. At present, do you feel there are any local issues in Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston that may come into play during the election campaign, or is it going to be based on national issues only?

I grew up on a dairy and potato farm, and I listen carefully to farmers and rural residents. But perhaps surprisingly in this large rural riding where people need employment, economic development, affordable housing, accessible health care, and even food, the biggest issue that I hear at the doors is that people are concerned about Canada. They are very upset at where they see Canada heading under the grasp of the current government and prime minister, and they want a big change in Ottawa. They see Stephen Harper’s blind ideology and his incessant politics of division as the root cause of just about every other problem that we are facing. So they are saying “fix that” and then we can all cooperate on restoring and rebuilding all the damage that has been done, and moving forward to a very promising future.

There are some who say once an MP is elected, the constituency’s wishes or concerns sometimes get ignored. Is there anything specific you would do to keep in touch with the riding, and related to that, how do you feel you can best represent the riding in Ottawa?

Everywhere people are pleading for their MPs to represent them, not the PM telling the MPs what propaganda to feed to their constituents. And I am telling them that representing them will be my highest priority, directly in line with Liberal policies and values. During the almost two years that I have been actively seeking the nomination, I have undoubtedly traveled very much more throughout this riding and discussed more issues with constituents than the sitting Conservative MP has done in many years. Along with our Liberal Red Tent, our riding association, Liberal volunteers and team members, I have helped spread the Liberal message to all parts of this huge rural riding. I have attended Council Meetings in all 15 County, Town and Townships, some of them multiple times. Our current Conservative MP enjoys standing up every year in the House of Commons to emphasize that he spends the least on travel of any MP in Canada, despite the fact that he represents a very large riding, and despite the fact that most constituents have never seen or met him. My website, my email responses, my social media and all manner of correspondence and communication will be up-to-date and comprehensive. And I will have regularly-scheduled hours in the constituency offices. So my commitment is to be visible, available, accessible and attentive to issues and concerns. The only way to represent constituents is to know them, know their opinions and their needs, and to listen. And I will not, ever, develop a sense of entitlement like we are seeing far too often these days. What a big difference all that would be in this riding

You’re currently one of two nomination candidates for the LPC in Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston. I’m presuming you’re still signing up memberships. First, what would you say to folks in the riding who’ve never been members of a political party before as to why they should pay 10$ to get a membership and support you? The second part of that question is: What do you say to those Liberal delegates who are undecided or perhaps to other supporters of other candidates about why they should support you to be the official candidate?
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People are not concerned with the $10. They want you to listen to them and support the interests and concerns of them and their families. Then they will support you. I am 100% committed to winning the nomination and have been for almost two years. My clear and achievable goal is, with the support of all the Liberals in the riding, to win this riding so that Justin and our other great Liberal Candidates can form the next majority government in Ottawa.

I am retired. I have the time, and I have been using all my time and energy to help get winning conditions in place for the next election. I have the leadership skills and the knowledge of over 40 years of public service to Canada. I retired as a Lieutenant-Colonel after a 28 career as an Air Force pilot, with a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Science. 

I have lived with my family for 18 years in this rural riding and I am fully committed to serving Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston and Canada in a new Liberal Government.

1 comment to Interview with Phil Somers, LPC Nomination Candidate Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston

  • Irene Lussier

    Phil Somers would be such an asset to the liberal party and his riding. Wishing him much luck.

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