A conversation with Marjory Loveys, federal Liberal candidate

April 23, 2011

In the last year and a half you have knocked on thousands of doors and have probably patted half the dogs in Leeds-Grenville.  What have you learned?

(Laughing) I have learned that if I let the dog lick my hand, it stops barking long enough for me to talk to the owner.

Although many people have lived in Leeds-Grenville for generations, others have moved to Leeds-Grenville because of our strong communities and the beauty and recreational opportunities.  And because of the Internet, a surprising number work from their homes.  One guy manages a 400-person network in all parts of the world from his home in North Grenville.  A woman works full time for a Bay Street law firm from her home in Gananoque.  A Delta woman works for IBM from her home.

What is the ballot question for this election?

This election is about two things:  one is the Liberal vs Conservative choices on what to spend money on; the other is whether people approve of Mr. Harper’s style of government.

The Conservatives are keen on mega-prisons and corporate tax cuts and sloppy military procurements.  They’re often not bothering to get tenders and in the case of the F-35 jets, are signing on for something not completely developed yet.  And they are stubborn enough to stay committed to it even as other countries are backing away.

Most economists agree that corporate tax cuts are not the best way to create jobs.  Analysts at the Department of Finance, Jim Flaherty’s own department, have placed corporate tax cuts at the bottom of the job-creation list, well below investments in education and families.

The reason investments in families create jobs is that families will spend the money immediately, multiplying the economic benefit, while corporations are already sitting on hordes of cash.

The Liberals want to invest in education as well as other measures to help families get over the hurdles of raising kids, saving for pensions, and looking after gravely ill family members.  And we have specific programs to do all of those things.

What about Mr. Harper’s approach to government?

I find it secretive, deceitful, and wasteful.

The most recent examples are their refusal to provide parliament or the public with the costs of the proposed legislation, of the cost to the taxpayers.  Siphoning fifty million dollars of money intended for the improvement of our border infrastructure into washrooms and gazebos scattered around the riding of the Minister of Industry.  The wasteful G20 photo op and the fake lake.  More recently spending millions of dollars on taxpayer-paid ads to announce stimulus programs that had already expired.

Perhaps the most troubling thing about the Conservatives’ approach was that they shut down debate and fired or silenced anyone who disagreed with them.  The head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Agency and the Veteran’s Ombudsman are but two of many examples of principled individuals fired for doing their jobs.

Why should we care?

There are so many issues we need to come to grips with as a country:  jobs, climate change, dealing with our aging population, Canada’s place in the world.  If we don’t have honest and substantive debates about these issues, we won’t find the right solutions.

Do the Harper Conservatives have too much respect for the free market?

I think they don’t see a role for government, so they’re offloading all responsibility for our economic direction and job creation to the big corporations, leaving our future in the hands of those whose chief requirement is to maximize quarterly profit.  We need to balance the short-term thinking of the corporations with long-term plans and investments in education, research and technology.  That’s the government’s job.

What things do people bring up most?

People are embarrassed and angry about question period.  Teachers in particular complain about this.  Personally I think we should try taking the TV cameras out of the House of Commons.

Jobs and job security are both huge issues.  People who work for companies going through corporate transitions are seriously worried about the future of their pension plans.

I see lots of potential for jobs here.  People with skills want to live in our communities.  So let’s make sure we are as attractive as possible to startup and growing small businesses.  Green energy is already creating jobs, and can create more.

Can tourism in Leeds-Grenville survive a high dollar?

I think it can because we do have a first class product in our land, our people, and our history.

As a landscape painter I take great joy in the beauty of the Westport area.  One great opportunity is to prepare a Michelin-type tourist guide for artist’s studios and galleries in Leeds-Grenville, integrating our tourism and artistic communities.

How are the late stages of the local campaign going?

Not that I notice, but in my neighbourhood we’re winning the sign war, 8 to 6 (laughing).

Quite a few people have told me they plan to cast a strategic Liberal vote this time.  I tell them their votes are safe with me.  I’m a fiscal conservative, a social progressive, and a dedicated environmentalist.  So I encourage those fed up with Stephen Harper’s behaviour to band together and make me their MP.

Steve Pettibone has a fine profile of Marjory Loveys at http://www.recorder.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3091585


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