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Interview with Cathy MacLellan, Liberal Nomination Contestant for Waterloo

One of the advantages of going to a LPC(O) Conference is you sometimes unexpectedly meet candidates or nomination contestants. That was the case this past weekend in London when through an acquaintance, I met Cathy MacLellan, who is a nomination contestant in the riding of Waterloo, a new riding created by Elections Canada due to electoral redistribution. She was aware of my blog and past interviews it seems, so I asked if she’d like to participate in one. to which she agreed to. This is a riding that is being vigourously contested by several Liberal candidates or would-be candidatures, so it will be an interesting race to watch. I thank Cathy for taking the time to answer these.

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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?

a) Justin Trudeau called for “Open Nominations” which meant I could apply to be a nomination contestant.

b) I was invited to run by local Liberal members. Given that this riding has swung back and forth between Conservative and Liberal for many decades, odds are that with the right candidate and the right Liberal leader, we progressives could win the riding back. I am rallying citizens from all of the Parties who are fed up with Harper and his damaging policies, to support my nomination. So, I believe if I can win the nomination, I will win the riding and be a progressive voice in Ottawa.

c) Since the 2011 election it is very clear that the Harper government is damaging this country so badly, in so many ways, that I felt compelled to use my political experience, history, gifts and talents to unseat the incumbent Conservative MP.

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?

I have many interests, areas of experience and expertise but the three most important issues I would champion today include:
Real action to deal with climate change, lowering GHGs and protecting our environment, air, water, land and animals. Re-establish science-based policies.
We need to do more creating/supporting the conditions for an economy that addresses youth employment, entrepeneurship, and innovation across the economy including clean tech/advanced manufacturing. Re-thinking our refugee policies – a careful, compassionate approach is possible regarding who is accepted as a refugee and we need to bring back health coverage for refugees. I serve on the Board of a non-profit organization that helps refugees through the claims process.

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

Infrastructure spending (public transportation, climate change mitigation and adaptation for cities) and utilizing the vast intellectual resources we have to create jobs and a great quality of life for all are both local and national issues. We have two Universities in this riding. We must create the conditions to keep the best and brightest graduates here, building companies, redefining work, and helping all of Canada succeed in a challenging changing world economy.

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?

It is important that an MP do more than photo ops and announcements when he/she is in their riding. Holding regular town halls, and round table discussions is a great way to hear from constituents and also share what’s going on in Ottawa with them. I would seek out experienced MP best practices on riding engagement and bring that to Waterloo.

I understand you’re currently one of several nomination or possible nomination candidates for the LPC in Waterloo.  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 would you say to those Liberal delegates who are undecided or perhaps to other supporters of other candidates (in a run-off ballot) about why they should support you to be the official candidate?

The last time citizens in Waterloo had the opportunity to choose the candidate who will represent the Liberal Party was 21 years ago. So this is an exceptional time to participate at a grassroots level in the political process. For existing Liberal members I emphasize the need to choose a candidate who can win both the nomination and the riding. A person can win a nomination contest in this riding by getting a mere 400-500 votes, but to win this riding, that candidate must be able to win close to 30,000 votes. We must have a candidate who can do both! I have lived in Waterloo for over 20 years, graduated from UW’s co-op program in 1985. I am married with three grown children, who also live in the community – often back at home with us. My husband and I are entrepeneurs. We have created jobs, we have experienced all the challenges of life in the business sector. This is similar to so many people who call Waterloo home. I have served my community in many ways over the years, being an MP is really a continuation and expansion of that service.

2 comments to Interview with Cathy MacLellan, Liberal Nomination Contestant for Waterloo

  • Jon Bathmaker

    The election of the NDP’s Catherine Fife shows that a swing to the Liberals is not enough to elect any old Liberal candidate. We need a candidate who will WIN. Someone who can get 12% of the vote as a Green candidate in Waterloo (as Ms. MacLellan did) WILL beat Peter Braid. Her high profile in the community and her inclination (and ability) to knock on doors from the day she becomes the official nominee until election day will be the decisive factors in a Liberal victory.

  • Donald A Fraser

    Cathy MacLellan is an energetic, competent candidate. She will make a good legislator, concentrating on government transparency and evironmental protection. Waterloo will be fortunate to be represented by Cathy in Ottawa.

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