I believe Ottawa-Vanier needs a representative with strong voice and who is an active leader committed to working hard to advocate on behalf of local residents both in Lowertown and on Parliament Hill. Many of my family members have committed their lives to serving the public and I have a profound respect for those who work in the public service.
As a longtime resident of Ottawa-Vanier, I have always been heavily involved in the community, whether it is volunteering at the local food bank, working with various community groups or coaching the Men’s Soccer team at the University of Ottawa. I have always shown initiative in our community and care about our future.
The fact is that many residents have voiced their concerns about the complacent nature of our current MP. That is why it is time for change in Ottawa-Vanier. Lowertown is at the heart of our great riding and it is time we had consistent engagement and an active leader in the House of Commons. On October 19th, I would be honoured to have your support.
I graduated from the University of Ottawa with a joint honours degree in Political Science and History. I have worked in the Public Service and as a political aide to the Minister of International Trade. Having experienced both the political and public sides of the federal government, I am focused on making the political process more inclusive, as well as bringing greater transparency and accountability to the people of Ottawa-Vanier.
What are the two most important issues affecting our riding and what would you do to address them?
We all know too well how quickly costs can add up. That is why I support our government’s low-tax plan, so that you keep more of your hard earned money in your pocket.
There are a number of tax cuts and deductions I would support for our community. The Family Tax Cut provides fairness for families with children through income splitting, saving up to $2,000 per year. The Universal Child Care Benefit is also another way in which Canadian families can keep more money in their pockets; families will save $1,920 per year for every child under 6 years of age and $720 per year for every child aged 6-17 years. I support pension income splitting for seniors, doubling the Tax Free Savings Account to $10,000 annually, as well as making Registered Retirement Funds (RRIFs) more flexible for seniors by reducing minimum withdrawal factors.
Crime is another important issue. Our community has one of the highest crime rates in the city. Having worked with at-risk youth in our community, I feel more can be done by our federal representative. In 2012, our government launched the next phase of the Youth Gang Prevention Fund to target youth with a demonstrated history of serious violence and/or who are at risk of joining a gang. This program will be significant in supporting the youth in our community. It is also important that as a government, we strengthen the rights of victims of crime; our government has also passed the historic Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, which strengthens the rights of victims in information participation, protection and restitution.
Ottawa has approved the ByWard Market Revitalization Plan as a Term of Council priority. What would you do to enhance this jewel in our, and Ottawa's, community?
The Byward Market is an iconic and historical venue in our city that brings together both residents and tourists alike. As our community and capital city grows, it is important that we invest in the Byward Market so that it can continue to be an attraction for all. We need development in Lowertown, but smart development – cognizant of our community’s unique history and the important role that history plays.
2017 marks Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, where Canadians will celebrate our nation’s birthday, and our community will be right at the center of these festivities. That is why our Government created the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program, which will provide $150 million to support renovation, expansion and improvements to community infrastructure. As your potential MP, I would work with the Lowertown Community Association (LCA) to ensure that projects in Lowertown receive the necessary federal support.
I believe it is important to work with all levels of government to grow this area. I support the work done by municipal leaders to implement the Byward Market Revitalization Plan and I am glad to see this has become a priority for City officials. We must work together to preserve and protect the Byward landmark for future generations.
The majority of Lowertown residents walk, cycle or take public transit to work, shop and play, but it can be dangerous given heavy truck and car traffic, especially on King Edward Ave. How would you work to improve active transportation infrastructure and safety?
According to the City of Ottawa, there are 2,600 trucks that travel through Lowertown and Sandy Hill every day. Truck traffic is growing at a rate of two to three per cent a year. The City of Ottawa and Government of Ontario launched a feasibility study to look at a building a tunnel to connect Highway 417 and the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge. We need to modernize the transportation routes in our community, and I believe this is a viable solution to getting the trucks off our city streets.
Many residents also rely on public transit to get around. Our Conservative government has invested $760 million to support Stage 1 of the light rail transit (LRT) and were first to commit to the second phase of the project. I will continue to support the construction of the LRT system in our city.
Active leadership is required to ensure residents of Lowertown feel safe going about their daily lives. While support for LRT is a strong step in the right direction, more can be done, but will require leadership at the federal level. Active consultations with the LCA are one way to properly reduce truck traffic and support smart development. The truck issue has been talked about for the past 20 years and there is still no end in sight. Lowertown residents have long been neglected by their federal member. I will work hard to help decrease commute times for families, tackle the truck congestion downtown, encourage job creation and advocate for community projects. On October 19th, I hope you will support me in bringing change to Ottawa-Vanier.
First published in the Lowertown Echo Newspaper, September - October edition, Volume 6, issue 4