I’ve not done one of these in awhile, but today, we have an interview with Colin Smith, an LPC nomination contestant in the riding of Carleton, a riding that was abolished in 1966 but re-created by the boundary re-distribution in 2012. It will be where Pierre Poilievre, a Conservative on the top of most Liberals most loathed Conservative list, will be running. As usual, interviews do not imply endorsements (Colin currently has 2 other contestants running against him, and the nomination date as of today hasn’t been set yet). I thank Colin for taking the time to do the interview.
For those that haven’t seen your website yet, can you tell our readers why you’ve decided to run for the nomination in Carleton?
For me, The Fair Elections act was the tipping point that something had to change. I had long thought of entering politics and I feel that I now had the motivation needed to act for change. While I strongly disagree with the content of the bill, the theater surrounding its implementation is what actually convinced me to run. Politicians are who we send to manage our ideals and interests within government and they should be willing and able to discuss serious issues without the constant desire to score political points. Having grown up on the border of Ottawa-South and Nepean-Carleton, and with the new riding Carleton set to receive Pierre Poilievre, I figured that Carleton would be the perfect place to run and show people how an MP should behave. Having now spoken with people from throughout the riding, I know my decision to enter the race was right and I am excited for the campaign.
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 would want the 42nd Parliament to fight for democratic and parliamentary reform. I believe the hyper-partisan atmosphere the Harper government has created serves only to push people away from the political process, rather than engage them as full participants. We need to make Parliament both more effective and accountable, while actively taking steps to realizing true electoral reform. Removing the animosity that currently exists in politics, and forcing politicians to work together will serve to strengthen the political process and ultimately achieve better, evidenced based policy.
There is a saying that “all politics is local”. At present, do you feel there are any issues in Carleton that may come into play during the election campaign, or is it going to be based on national issues only?
One huge issue that is specific for the riding of Carleton is Pierre Poilievre. Since he is one of the most contentious partisans on the Hill, his record and demeanor will serve as a rallying point for voters and volunteers excited about our campaign. Apart from him, the campaign will be based on good governance. We can do so much better in terms of health care and the economy; if we have people in Ottawa who are concerned with delivering results rather than spin and talking points. Being interested in governance and developing long term policies will only serve to better position Canada for the years and decades ahead.
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?
Boosting democratic engagement is something I want to fight for in government. If I am lucky enough to be elected, I plan to hold monthly town hall meetings with the goal of better informing constituents on what the government is doing, and how it can best serve them. Politicians should be accessible, open and happy to engage with their riding. As an Ottawa based MP this is certainly easier to do than for MPs from other parts of the country but I think that only sets the bar higher. Before receiving my greenlight, myself and my team knocked on 2,000 doors, since getting the nod we have met with many key stakeholders and have been building excitement for what is sure to be an energetic campaign based around engagement and hope for a better Canada.
Your nomination meeting will be upcoming sooner or later. 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? (in a ranked ballot situation if it gets past the first ballot)
My message to Liberal members in the riding is simple: “29%”. That is the average winning percentage Pierre Poilievre has had in the last 3 elections. This begs the question, why? The answer to me is clear, he has a strong understanding on how to win elections. Say what you will of his character and attitude, his willingness to work and his understanding of the political system are what have kept him in office for all these years. This riding is not “unwinnable” as some have deemed it to be, but make no mistake it will require a lot of work. For us to turn this riding red, we cannot simply run a Liberal candidate, we must run a hardworking, engaged local campaign. To this end, my team and I have put in the most work and we will continue this work all the way to the nomination and beyond. The open nomination pledge was about instilling the values of hard work in our candidates. That’s how you win, simply signing up a few friends and family members will no longer cut it. Hope and Hard Work is not just a slogan, it’s a rallying cry. So please, lend me your vote so that the real work can begin.