EDITOR’S NOTE: Over the next few days we’ll be publishing Q&A’s with each candidate in Carleton. We wanted to give our readers a bit of background about each person and what motivates them to run for office. First up is the Liberal candidate, Chris Rodgers.
Do you live in the riding? What neighbourhood?
Yes, I live in Kars with my wife Jenny and our son Cameron. We’re active in the area with community activities, sports and our church.
Why are you running in this election?
I’m running because I know we can do better. On the economy and on the way we do politics, we can do better for Canada and for our community. With that in mind, my wife Jenny had been encouraging me to throw my hat in the ring, but I always said that I would only consider it if someone approached me unsolicited and in a serious way. Last year a lifelong Liberal from Stittsville, Heather Walt, did just that and here I am.
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?
First off, folks in Stittsville are finding it harder and harder to get ahead. Whether it’s families trying to make ends meet or young people looking for good jobs, the middle class is feeling the pinch. I believe that investing in targeted tax reductions, the tax-free Canada Child Benefit and our renewed Youth Employment Strategy will strengthen the middle class, the primary driver of our economy.
The second issue I hear at the door is the need for stronger local infrastructure. Our Liberal plan is to make a historic $60-billion investment in infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and water services. Not only will infrastructure investments create good-paying jobs, they’ll ensure long-term economic prosperity, a cleaner environment and a higher quality of life.
The third issue is the need to do more on retirement security. The Conservative government has failed to improve the Canada Pension Plan, the single best tool to save for retirement. Liberals would protect pension splitting and enhance the CPP to help our seniors retire with stability and dignity.
If elected, what do you hope to accomplish during your term as MP for Carleton?
I want to restore the strong sense of fairness and civility that traditionally underpinned our political system. Canada was always a place where people felt that we were all pulling together for a better life. And in the way we did politics, we showed respect for one another even when we disagreed. Unfortunately, the current government is more concerned with partisan gain than the public good. Canadians are waiting for positive leadership—driven by fairness and civility—and I feel that’s what I can bring to the job.
Who is your political hero or role model? Why?
Lester B. Pearson. He was Canada’s greatest diplomat, deeply principled and, most importantly, his policies did more to improve the lives of ordinary Canadians than any other Prime Minister. Like me, he was a public servant and played hockey.
What’s the biggest challenge about campaigning in Carleton?
Carleton is a very large riding with many different communities so the biggest challenge is simply maximizing my time with constituents. It also helps to have non-political links to the various communities. For example, my family lives in Kars but my wife grew up in Metcalfe and teaches at the high school there. I belong to the Legion in Manotick. I play hockey in Osgoode and softball in North Gower. My band has played all over the area and I did a university placement at Munster Elementary School. To be sure, having real connections to these communities seems to bring the whole riding much closer together.
Stittsville has traditionally voted Conservative – why do you believe your party has a realistic chance of winning in this riding?
Voters tell me every day that they want the kind of real change we’re offering—straightforward help for middle-class Canadians and a real plan to get the economy back on track. Several Liberals have represented parts of this riding in the not-too-distant past so I’m confident I can repeat their success. We are the only party in a position to bring change to Carleton.
Q: What else would you like to tell Stittsville voters?
Stittsville residents tell me it’s time they had an accessible Member of Parliament willing to be their voice in Ottawa instead of the Prime Minister’s local spokesman. As someone entering politics with diverse professional experience and genuine community links, I’m ready to be that voice.
To learn more about Rodgers, visit https://chrisrodgers.liberal.ca