EDITOR’S NOTE: This week we’ve been publishing short Q&A’s with each candidate. We want to give our readers some background about each person and what motivates them to run for office. Today we meet Green Party candidate, Deborah Coyne.
Do you live in the riding? What neighbourhood?
I grew up in Ottawa and have lived here on and off over the years. I currently rent an apartment in west Ottawa. Should I have the privilege to be elected the Member of Parliament for Carleton, I will be happy to move into the riding immediately.
Why are you running in this election?
I am committed to providing the thoughtful, principled representation that Carleton needs to serve the next generation – not just the next election.
I am running to get Parliament working again to serve the people of Canada.
For over nine years, Stephen Harper has governed out of the Prime Minister’s office, bypassing Parliament, and worked to shrink the capacity of the federal government to act in the national interest. Under the Harper Conservatives, we are losing our sense of what holds us together as Canadians.
You’ve been out knocking on doors and meeting people in the community – what would you say are the top three issues with Stittsville voters?
At the doorstep, the overarching issue that really overtakes everything else is how best to replace the Harper Conservative government and get Parliament to work again for the people, not the short-term aims of the politicians.
There are then three specific areas of concern related to this: how to strengthen our economic fundamentals to really improve productivity and innovation and vibrant businesses, while growing more and better jobs for all Canadians; how to reset the social safety net to serve the growing numbers of Canadians of all ages caught in the new world of part-time and episodic work; and how to make our democratic structures stronger to make our voices heard and never again allow Parliament to be bypassed by the Prime Minister’s Office.
If elected, what do you hope to accomplish during your term as MP for Carleton?
On October 19th, it will not be enough merely to defeat the Conservative incumbent. Canada needs a new kind of politics, and it starts here in Carleton.
Regardless of which party, or combination of parties, forms the next government, the best choice for Carleton is a representative who will exert a strong, positive influence to bring about greater accountability and reasonable compromise in Parliament. Carleton needs a representative who will ensure that we get things done for the benefit of our country and the generations to come, not the reelection of a political party. Together, we can begin the job of restoring to Parliament its main and fundamental task – that of holding government truly accountable to the people of Canada.
A vote for me and the Green Party will be a vote for this principled, constructive and forward-thinking representation. A vote for me and the Green Party is a vote for someone who will have your back and be responsive to your needs and concerns.
Who is your political hero or role model? Why?
Among the many persons who have inspired me with their leadership is Robert F. Kennedy. The reason is perhaps best expressed in this memorable quotation: “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”
What’s the biggest challenge about campaigning in Carleton?
The biggest challenge about campaigning in Carleton is the enormous geographic size of the riding. From Stittsville in the west to Metcalfe in the east, from north to south, Carleton is one of the largest ridings in the southern part of our country: urban, suburban and rural.
You’re one of the Green Party’s highest-profile candidates with a wealth of political experience. Why did you decide to run in this riding?
I decided to run for the Green Party because the Harper Conservative government represents a dangerously diminished Canada economically, socially and internationally. The Harper Conservative government’s singular focus on strengthening their narrow partisan base and using manipulation and spin to dumb down important public debates to support only their own re-election, not the national interest, is disrespectful of both Canadians and Canada.
We must change the culture in Parliament and elect representatives that truly believe in Canada and our enormous potential, and can inspire us to support a constructive, collaborative role for the national government. So, where better than Carleton to reject the mediocrity and manipulation of present-day machine politics – the very style of governance that my Conservative opponent represents.
Carleton needs fresh representation if we are to succeed in restoring power to Parliament and raising confidence in the federal government’s ability to act honestly and efficiently on behalf of all Canadians and the national interest. This is why I joined the Green Party. This is why I am proud to be the Green candidate for Carleton.
The constituents of Carleton, and all Canadians, deserve a clear choice and fresh vision to get us working together again for One Canada.
What else would you like to tell Stittsville voters?
There are some who will urge you to use strategic voting to bring about change in Parliament. This is wrong. In the vast majority of ridings, including our riding of Carleton, this is a tactical distraction from the democratic process. There are no quick fixes.
We have to take a stand for a better Canada and a healthier democracy. We have to take a stand to ensure that money and fear, manipulation and spin, do not continue to dominate our politics.
How far have we fallen? The Conservative record in that respect speaks for itself. As for the Liberals, their vote for Bill C-51 was politics at its worst, a stand without principle by a party still controlled by elites. The constant Liberal-NDP one-upmanship diverts valuable energy away from the critical goals – holding the Harper government accountable for diminishing Canada socially, economically and internationally, and providing a coherent alternative to progressive voters.
I know we can do better. We must do better. A vote for me and the Green Party is most certainly not a wasted vote. A vote for me and the Green Party is the only vote for bold national leadership. The only vote for building a Canada that earns the admiration of the world: for our innovation and competitive spirit, for the respect we show to the environment and Indigenous peoples, and for our commitment to social justice and support for those who need it.
To learn more about Coyne, visit http://deborahcoyne.nationbuilder.com