A composite image with photos of Robert Bowers, Michelle Ferreri, Joy Lachica, Paul Lawton, Maryam Monsef and Chanté White.
Ayesha Barmania  - 
September 9, 2021

Election Day is a matter of days away, and to help you make an informed decision about who to vote for, Peterborough Currents has interviewed all six candidates running for Peterborough–Kawartha in the 2021 federal election.

We asked each candidate to introduce themselves, why they’re running for office and what are the key takeaways from their platform. 

Take a listen and meet the candidates who want to represent our community at the federal level.

Candidate interviews begin at the following times:

  • 01:24 Robert Bowers, Independent candidate
  • 09:40 Michelle Ferreri, Conservative Party of Canada candidate
  • 17:07 Joy Lachica, New Democratic Party candidate
  • 26:27 Paul Lawton, People’s Party of Canada candidate
  • 35:52 Maryam Monsef, Liberal Party of Canada candidate
  • 44:18 Chanté White, Green Party of Canada candidate

Credits

Interviews by Ayesha Barmania and Will Pearson

Editing and production support by Leina Amatsuji-Berry

Hosting and audio mixing by Ayesha Barmania

Music courtesy of Erika Nininger, find her music on Bandcamp.

Episode transcript

Ayesha  00:01

Hi, this is the Peterborough Currents podcast. My name is Ayesha Barmania, and in this episode, I’ll be introducing you to the local candidates for the upcoming federal election. As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Election Day is coming up on September 20. Voters in the Peterborough-Kawartha riding will have six candidates to choose from on the ballot. And to help you make an informed choice, we spoke with all six and ask them to introduce themselves and speak about their platforms. This is the first episode of a series on the election, so subscribe to the podcast or our email newsletter so you don’t miss out on any of that coverage. In this episode, you’ll hear from Robert Bowers, an independent candidate, Michelle Ferreri, who’s running for the Conservative Party. Joy Lachica, the NDP candidate, Paul Lawton, who’s running for the People’s Party of Canada, Maryam Monsef, the incumbent Liberal candidate, and Chanté White, who is running for the Green Party. The interviews will play in that order, which is alphabetical by last name, and if you’d like to skip ahead to hear specific candidates, you can check the show notes for their time codes. This podcast is a Peterborough Currents project. We are an independent journalism outlet serving the Peterborough, Ontario region. We’re funded by our audience through donations and memberships, and if you’d like to support us, head to peterboroughcurrents.ca/support-us. Thanks. And with all that out of the way, let’s get to the interviews. First up is Robert Bowers, who is running as an independent candidate. Would you start off by introducing yourself and just say your name to begin with?

Robert Bowers  01:24

Well, my name is Robert M. Bowers, I’ve lived here all my life. And I’ve lived in almost every corner of the city. The fact is, I know the city like a book, I know that things have changed over the years. And that’s the reason I run. The fact is that we have at one time we were very prosperous city. When I was a kid, around 1950-1960. We had, everybody had a job, there was no poverty. And everybody was productive. How we got changed around I have no idea but our politicians in the sound, have not done their job. And I’m saying to them, I can change this. Because I’m and I believe that with dedication, and proper compassion, things will change. And I want people on the street to understand that I’m behind them. I want them to get homes. I want them to have happiness and something better than the drug world. And I’m also gonna say I also believe that the drug world has its limitations. And like, the fact is, if you want to change your life, you can. And but I’m not saying that it’s easy, because I know it’s not. I’ve given up cigarettes myself, many years ago now, and like, I’m I’m very healthy at 73 years old. I’ve had prostate cancer, I’ve had Parkinson’s disease, I’ve had schizophrenia. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m schizophrenic, because I believe that people have the wrong impression of what they are. And I’ve also got a university degree in Geography and English. And this is not just any old University, it was the University of Western Ontario, which is a renowned University in Canada here.

Ayesha  03:58

Just to bring back to the campaign, what would you say are your biggest priorities?

Robert Bowers  04:03

I want… First of all, I’m a native. And and the fact is, I believe that if we really want to help these people, we can. All it would take dedication and hard work. The fact is, we don’t need money per se, to change people. I’m a believer in social justice and socialism. I believe that we can do without certain things in order to get along in life. And I also believe that yeah, the natives are not after money. That’s not their purpose. They want happiness they want housing and proper, proper jobs. They need education, they need water, which everybody points to, but that’s not the only thing, there’s all kinds of things they need. And we have to do this for them, because we’ve put them through how I know because my father was in a residential school. And like I had to put up with that in my life. And I’m very emotional about that. The fact is, my father and I never saw eye to eye while he lived but I understand now. Anyway, I’ll try to stay on focus here. The fact is, there’s all kinds of things we have to do for people. It’s not just that natives, we have the poor in town here, we need to have proper care for them. We need a drug world that healthy for them, so that they can get rehabilitated. And I should guess, we make drugs legal. The fact is… We can’t persecute them. We have this feeling that they’re doing something wrong, but all they are, is addicted to something that started many years ago. We’ve had this problem for years and years and years, and we’ve never sorted it out. And we have our police forcing their way into the homes and taking their children. And it’s not fair. And talking about the CAS. We have to get CAS out of the native community. It’s not right, those people have suffered enough, and then there’s the young people, I’m not forgetting the ordinary person, either. The fact is we have young people that are going to school and paying for themselves. And that’s not fair. I look at it as a job. And they should be paid for. We can do that for our people. And I want the students to understand that if they stick together and petition the government properly. They’ll get that. And I’ll be beside them, hopefully.

Ayesha  07:35

So my next question is about your independent campaign. Why do you think it’s important to be an independent candidate in this election?

Robert Bowers  07:43

I’ll tell you why I run as an independent. One time I ran for the NDP. I ran for their ticket. And the fact is, I thought I was trapped. I couldn’t say what I wanted to say. I was shunned if I ever had an idea of my own. And I have ideas that you’ve heard now. And like I really believe in these things. And we can do it as a society if we really want to. And that’s the way I feel. And I run as an independent because it gives me my freedom to speak. And I can say whatever I want. And and people either take it or leave it, you know?

Ayesha  08:39

My last question is, is there anything else that you want to add? Or is there anything else that you think people should know about you?

Robert Bowers  08:46

You basically had me show my heart. You know? And there’s nothing more to say. I believe that people will vote according to their beliefs. And so, like I say, I’m a democratic-socialist. But that doesn’t mean communist, and it doesn’t mean capitalist. It means socialist, a person that believes that everyone should be treated equally. Other than that, that’s all I got to say.

Ayesha  09:27

That was Robert Bowers. The next interview is Michelle Ferreri, candidate for the Conservative Party. Could you please introduce yourself and tell us why you’re running?

Michelle Ferreri  09:40

Hi, I’m Michelle Ferreri. I am the candidate for Conservative Party of Canada for the Peterborough-Kawartha riding. And I am running in hopes to better serve my community. So, I grew up here I was raised here a lot of people know me as Michelle Leahy I was born in Douro. Yeah, so obviously I’m running to better serve my community. I started my own business six years ago, I’ve worked in broadcasting for over 22 years in Communications and Public speaking and listening to people and sort of networking to solve a lot of problems and advocating for the community on a, on a bigger level. And mental health has always been something that I’ve worked really heavily in. It’s something that I’m pretty passionate about, you know, from eating disorders, anxiety, OCD, schizophrenia, there’s a lot of different mental health disorders. But also, there’s just a lot of people who are also just struggling on a day-to-day basis, especially with the pandemic, it really magnified it. So, for me, the choice to run really came down to being able to do something bigger. And for me, it’s I’m implementing a mental health facility here in the riding of Peterborough-Kawartha.

Ayesha  10:48

Yeah, if you want to speak about that a little bit more. My next question is: tell me about your biggest priorities for Peterborough and the most important parts of your platform.

Michelle Ferreri  10:56

Yeah, so for sure, I think what’s really great about our platform, which makes my job very easy to be honest with you, is there is a platform. So, on the first day of the campaign, Erin O’Toole, our leader came out with 155, comprehensive plan 155 page comprehensive plan on what we’re going to do. And I think, I think that’s really critical when you look at recovery. And when you look at sort of tying it back to mental health and a lot of anxiety and trying to find an end, right? Like, when is this going to be over? What’s next? How do we move on from here, the notion of a recovery plan, and actually having a plan is, is really exciting, in my opinion. And I don’t know if exciting is the right word, because I think things are so upside down. I think this is a terrible time for an election, because even when I’m at the doors, and I’m listening to people, you know, and even back to school it’s a lot of nerves for a lot of parents and teachers. But you know, having a plan and having a recovery plan to help people better live like right now. And we have a five-pillar plan, which I really like to like it can be broken down. And you can go and you can look at it at any time. And you know, to do your do your research, but I think to have a plan really helps move forward. So, I think that’s going to be critical as we go through this. But the biggest thing at the door, what I was gonna say there was people are struggling. People are struggling to pay for their housing, people are struggling to pay for their food, people are struggling to pay for their rent. And if we don’t get this economy under control, I mean, I’m a mom, obviously, that’s a big component of my life. You know what’s going to happen? I look at senior struggling, what’s going to happen to my kids as seniors? what’s gonna happen to their kids as seniors if we don’t get this economy under control? And I have this conversation all the time with my kids. They say, Well, where do you get more money? Do you can you not just print it? I’m like, No, when you print more money, you increase inflation and the value of everything just skyrockets. And then you can’t afford your food and groceries and Hydro and housing. So, I think you know, that’s critical right now. And it’s our number one priority, so that we can then deal with everything else is to try and we will stabilize the economy. And I love that it’s a 10-year plan. I think that’s really valuable. You know, you’re a lot of politicians come in, and we have four-year stints, right. So, you can’t as a business owner, it’s very hard to do a lot in four years, you have to have long term vision. So, it’s to get the economy back on track and to get people like you too jobs, and able to get a house.

Ayesha  13:29

The next question is along the veins of partisanship. So, when and how did you get involved with the Conservative Party of Canada? And is there anything in particular that’s exciting you about the party and Erin O’Toole right now?

Michelle Ferreri  13:41

Yeah, so I feel like I kind of answered a lot of that in my last long-winded answer. So, I’m, I have been working behind the scenes for a while in communications with different candidates and different levels of the party. I’m working as a broadcaster for years, you know, it’s important to maintain non-partisanship and to really critically think and assess right so when you would interview I always interviewed when elections came up, you had to interview all of the candidates and ask some pretty hard pressing questions and you know that that really helped solidify that I am a Conservative and I think you know, I always give credit to – I age myself when I say this- but um, grade 13 or OAC as we called it back then politics teacher, and he was an exceptional teacher because he taught politics, very nonpartisan. Like he gave it out and he laid it out. And that’s really what fueled my real spark for politics. I actually funny enough, I actually have and I’m trying to find it. I have a binder from my OAC politics that says one day I will run to be Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party of Canada. And so then when I got into broadcasting, and I watched how hard people work and how hard it is and how you never, you know, you’re always criticized, so I’m never gonna do this. And then now I’m here. So, yeah, I think I think that’s, you know, my sort of story of how I got involved. But I’m also a person who says, You’ve got to be part of a solution. And if you’re not part of the solution, you’re often part of the problem. So, any I, you know, tip my hat at anybody who gets involved, and gets is actively involved and is listening and is, you know, following what they want to do. And getting, you know, getting involved is really critical. And as to back to your point about Erin, I think Erin’s great because he has a plan. That’s what I love about Erin, he has results-driven plan. And that’s his military background as well. Right. He served in the military for 12 years. And so I actually covered the military when I worked in broadcasting as well. And military personnel are exceptional group of people, they’re exceptional their skill set is next level in their sort of dedication, commitment and results-oriented strategy. So um, I think that’s really exciting to have somebody at the helm, and who really focuses on bringing people together. I think we need to do that more than ever right now.

Ayesha  16:09

Okay, well, any final words or points you’d like to bring up about your platform or anything in our last minute?

Michelle Ferreri  16:16

No, I think just go and look at it. I think that’s the biggest thing I would say to people, right. conservative.ca. And you’ll see you can download the full plan. It’s 155 pages. You know, it’s a five-step plan, which I think is really great. And I think I think it’s got some real meat and potatoes, which I think is really, I think is really great. It’s an actual plan, an actual recovery plan. And that’s what we need right now.

Ayesha  16:42

Thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

Michelle Ferreri  16:43

Thank you. I appreciate your time.

Ayesha  16:50

That was Michelle Ferreri. Up next is Joy Lachica, the NDP candidate who was interviewed by my colleague, Will Pearson.

Will Pearson  17:07

Thanks so much for agreeing to chat with me. I’m wondering if you can kind of introduce yourself and tell me a little bit about why you’re running to be MP for Peterborough-Kawartha?

Joy Lachica  17:20

Good morning, William. Bonjour, merci. I’m just so pleased and honored to be here. Thanks for the invitation on William’s treaty territory. This is the traditional territory of the Mississagi, and the Anishinaabe. And it’s just a delight to be here in Nogojiwanong, Peterborough, and this is my home. I have, I have been an activist and advocate, and a politician for quite some time. And, you know, our paths, take certain turns and twists. And and I’m just so pleased that mine has landed here right now. So, my background, I started out as a French teacher, and then I you know, I’ve got qualifications and special education, and, and also an ESL (English as a second language). So I’ve been an OT and occasional teacher, I’ve been an LTOT, which is a long term, occasional teacher. And I’ve been a contract teacher and a couple of boards most recently, and my employer is the Toronto District School Board. I decided in 2015. Well, funding formulas always been broken since the Harris years. But I started to see things slipping away with with liberal and conservative governments. We had Bill 115, where we had our collective agreement rights squashed, and that we had that we had the elementary teachers federation of Ontario, really, really has been involved in a lot of action around that over the years and up to the present. And then, so I realized at that time, that there’s a whole lot more to education politics than just being in the classroom. I’ve I for a while I struggled with would I be a principal, because we have some amazing principals out there. And many of them have been my mentors over the years, but I really felt that I had a heart for the union. And, you know, those political science courses that I took at the University of Waterloo, those history courses, you know, that’s those are my second teachables though those areas, I just, it’s all integrated. And I really saw that the labor movement and the rights for that, that education workers have are really the rights that our community and our students have. Because, you know, what we, what we fight for in a school environment is what’s best for kids and what’s best for families and what’s best for community. So, I really got connected to the labor movement. Since 2015, as well, I took the opportunity to run for the EFTO provincial executive, as an executive member…

Will Pearson  20:11

I’m just gonna, I’m gonna stop you here, just because I, we do need to give equal time to all the candidates. And I know that we’ve gone longer than we can…

Joy Lachica  20:20

sure that my heart has shifted from education to what we need to fight for today, which is climate change, fighting for the planet, and also fighting for measures that are safe and healthy as we as we face a fourth wave with the Delta, variant, thank you.

Will Pearson  20:40

Thanks. So, tell me about sort of what the most important parts of your platform are, and what you’re trying to trying to push in this election.

Joy Lachica  20:48

Thank you. So, you know, I just gave that little introduction about my role in the labor movement, but um, with with my Labor Council, I’ve been fighting for climate action for quite some time, I was the chair of the Environment Committee in my Labor Council. I sat around a table with different leaders around climate justice, within the labor movement in in and around Toronto and York Region, as well as the Toronto environmental Alliance 350.org. Blue Green, my friend Jamie on blue green. John Cartwright was my mentor at the at the climate roundtable. And and so you know, for a long time, I’ve been talking about what we need to do. And so that is the piece that is so essential, because, you know, with all the things that we’re fighting for in this federal election, if we don’t have a planet, we have nothing left to fight for. So that is my driving motivation for participating and becoming a candidate in this election. And it’s in the forefront. I know, for the NDP, you know, Bill C-12, received Royal Assent on June 29. Our frustration is that the federal government, Justin Trudeau, for the last six years, has not kept up with Paris targets. And the mechanisms have not been in place. And what we’re seeing is the fact that we are behind many other jurisdictions many other places in the world, where they have begun to make just transitions to a clean economy to a green economy. And the Liberal government hasn’t been able to do that. I know that with the Green New Deal. And, and Peter Julian has described it so well, and, and you know, locally, we talk about this with with our allies, our allies, different organizations here in Peterborough, so much has been happening to green up and in the different climate action networks that already exist here to really move this forward. And we know that the NDP is has got a coordinated, established, well deciphered set of mechanisms in place to make this happen to meet the targets for 2030, which is, which is what we achieved in the third reading instead, it can’t be 2050. anymore, like in the first reading, we have to do this much earlier than we thought. And when we see the forest fires from sea to sea, and when when we know that there’s drought in the west, like we’ve never seen before. And and this isn’t just in our continent, it’s everywhere. We’ve never seen anything like this. And we have to move now. And we have to have a plan. The NDP has that plan. And I’m so thrilled to be candidate to be able to participate in this.

Will Pearson  23:53

Yeah, well, that’s a good way to segue into what I wanted to ask next, which was to give you a chance to speak more specifically about the NDP, and you know, your partisan affiliation with the NDP. How and when did you first get involved with the NDP and like, what’s exciting you about the party and the NDP platform and Jagmeet Singh right now?

Joy Lachica  24:15

I’ve been an NDP voter for quite some time before I became more formally involved with the party. I did help out a lot on campaigns and foot canvases as a volunteer and all of that sort of thing. But more recently, I would say since 2018, I have been involved with the Toronto-Danforth Riding Association. I was an executive on the Toronto-Danforth Riding Association. I was the disability Rep. And I really worked hard to bring that lens to every situation. And I was supporting the candidate at the time, which was Min Sook Lee I was on her campaign team and we went throughout the city of Toronto canvassing together, and I certainly sat and as a part of a team talked about strategies. And that was just such a wonderful experience to prepare me for this. Matthew Breen, a friend and colleague from from Hamilton Wentworth, we were together at an education function and he said, Joy, would you consider running back in 2018. it wasn’t the right time, but I’ve always had it in the back of my head the next time it will be it will be the time perhaps and and I’ve just been, you know, talking to my family, talking to good friends, talking to my colleagues and at where I’ve come from, and also my new new family of friends here. This is just the time to be able to bring Peterborough-Kawartha’s voice to Ottawa, so I hope that you’ll look for my name on the ballot and vote Joy Lachica.

Will Pearson  25:54

Right. Thanks, Joy.

Ayesha  26:03

That was Joy Lachica. Up next we’ll hear from Paul Lawton, who is running for the People’s Party of Canada.

Ayesha  26:23

So, if you could please introduce yourself and tell us why you’re running.

Paul Lawton  26:27

So, my name is Paul Lawton. I’m running in the Peterborough-Kawartha riding for the People’s Party of Canada. So about me personally, I grew up in Mississauga, I moved to Peterborough to attend Trent University in 2003. And I’ve lived here ever since. So graduated 2008 I met my wife here at Trent, she came from Northwestern Ontario. And we decided to stay here because it was a big city for her and a small town for me at the time. And we both really grew to love Peterborough, for the small town feel that kind of mix of big city, small town, the natural surroundings. And so we decided to stay. So, we still live here in the city in Peterborough, and we homeschool our eight children here. And the second part of why I’m running. So, I’m running to be an MP for Peterborough-Kawartha. Because like I said, I, I really do love this city and this riding, it became clear that the plans from all of the other parties and candidates all really involved two things. One is greater and greater, further restrictions on personal freedom. And secondly, an ever-growing reliance on debt and ever growing national debt due to the various promises for spending programs that that the other candidates and parties intend that they promise and a plan in order to buy votes. And I knew because of those two, those two things, Peterborough-Kawartha needed another option. Those who know me best will know there’s really nothing special about me personally, that would indicate that I should be an MP that I should run. But there are a lot of people in their own ways standing up for freedom of expression for standing against a growing national debt. And there had to be somebody willing to do that at the at the federal level. And, and I thought if it’s something that is important enough, then I’d have to be willing to do it myself. So so that’s that’s why that’s why I’m running.

Ayesha  28:38

Thank you, can you tell me about your biggest priorities for Peterborough and the most important parts of your platform?

Paul Lawton  28:44

I’m sure I’ll mentioned three, I think all three of these, I think they double as the biggest priorities for the Peterborough-Kawartha riding, and for the country as a whole. So the first thing I’ll mention is freedom of expression. So, it’s clear that the rights of Canadians to freely hold and express beliefs are being eroded at an alarming speed under the current government. What we might find offensive or politically incorrect, ought not to serve as the legal basis for discrimination and censorship. So, we want to ensure that all Canadians can exercise their freedom of conscience to its fullest extent as is intended under the charter. That’s really the the meaning of a free society. So that’s first. Secondly, it’s not a sexy issue to talk about, but spending in taxes. It’s it’s not something that even comes up very often in candidates debates, which is a surprise but the reality is that unless government spending is reduced, the federal debt will be a millstone around the neck of our children or grandchildren. Right. No responsible person runs his own household income in such a way as to leave debt. For his posterity, right, you might, you might run a household debt for a time in the case of an emergency, or unexpected occurrences. But But nobody plans to actually leave debt for their children for grandchildren, right? We, we often, we often try to plan the opposite. And right now as a country, that’s the route where we’re headed. The federal debt is, is massive, and it’s growing all the time. And all of the other candidates in our riding all of their parties, what it comes down to is all of the promises and the plans they’re making now would only add to it. So, our, our platform would, would eliminate the debt by the end of our first mandate. And then we would move to cut personal corporate and capital gains taxes. So So that’s the second thing, so freedom of expression, spending and taxes. And the third one, the third and final one I’ll mention is lock downs, and vaccine segregation. So, Canadians need a voice in Parliament who will stand up for ordinary citizens who need their businesses, schools and churches to be open. And to stay open. We’re the only party standing up against mandatory COVID vaccines and vaccine segregation, the government must respect Canadians enough to allow for informed consent and freedom of choice. And we must resist even as premier Ford said even a couple of weeks ago, we must resist creating a two-tiered society with those who choose not to take the vaccine or choose not to reveal their status, unable to fully participate in public life. That’s obviously a bit of a controversial topic. If you look, there was a editorial in the Peterborough Examiner today or yesterday. And part of it had to do with my participation in debates. And I’m not I’m not too concerned about that. One of the comments was that employers ought not to make the vaccine mandatory for employees, but they ought to make it a mandatory part of being employed, right? So, they’re saying, in effect, the vaccine shouldn’t be mandatory. But if you want to work, then you do have to have it and you have to tell us you have to reveal our status. Personally, and as a party, we’re not anti-vaccine. But our concern is for personal choice and personal freedom. So, we again, we’re the only federal party advocating standing up against mandatory vaccines. So that would be the three freedom of expression spending taxes, lockdowns, back scene segregation.

Ayesha  32:36

What is exciting you right now about the People’s Party of Canada, and its platform and Maxime Bernier?

Paul Lawton  32:43

So I joined the party at its founding. So the party started in 20, before the 2019 election. So Maxime Bernier was was a member of the Conservative Party of Canada, he was in the kind of neck and neck in the leadership race in that party. And he left to start the PPC. I agree with with Max’s assessment that the Conservative Party of Canada had, had become essentially indistinguishable from from the Liberal Party of Canada. I think that’s still the case now. And so I agree entirely that Canadians needed a new option. And so that’s why I joined it at its at its founding. What I’m most passionate about now, are the fact that all of our, our platform planks are based around the key values of the party: individual freedom, personal responsibility, fairness, and respect. The other thing I’d like to mention that I’m I’m excited and passionate about is to represent a party that we have said again, and again and again, that we will not buy votes. So, we’re the only party who’s willing to say, when we get asked, Will you have a program for this? Or will you have a program for that? If we don’t, then we will say it, we’re willing to say no, the federal government should not have a role in that. If you take a look at it was from a little earlier this week, or perhaps late last week, I was asked about the other party’s national childcare plans and whether the PPC had a national childcare plan. It’s the question sounds innocuous enough. But the question really is, should the government federal government play a role in subsidizing the cost of childcare and controlling that environment? And we say emphatically No. So, we want to push as much power down to the provincial, municipal level and to the level of the family as we can, every other party wants to grow the size of the federal government? And we want to say no, there are things that are that are outlined in the charter in the Canadian Constitution, there are things that the federal government does have to take care of right. There are things like national defense, for example, that obviously are a federal concern, but otherwise, we don’t want to have to have a hand in things that rightly should be the domain of the provincial government, municipal government. We want people closest to the action, so to speak, to have, have the most power, the most authority to make those decisions. So that’s what I’m excited about to advocate for small and efficient government that wants that wants individual Canadians, individual communities, to be able to have have power to decide what’s what’s best to do in their own way.

Ayesha  35:27

Awesome. Well, thanks so much, and good luck with your campaign.

Paul Lawton  35:29

Thanks very much. Thanks for opportunity.

Ayesha  35:36

That was Paul Lawton. The next interview is with Maryam Monsef, who is the incumbent Liberal candidate.

Ayesha  35:52

If you could please introduce yourself and tell us why you’re running.

Maryam Monsef  35:55

My name is Maryam Monsef, and I am running to be your member of parliament for another mandate here in Peterborough-Kawartha. I’m running because I care about our community. And the work that I’ve done over the past two mandates has been a labor of love. We’ve delivered about half a billion dollars to support small and big projects that are meaningful to our community. And I care about what happens to our future. There’s a lot at stake, and I’m asking for your vote so that I can continue to be your voice and make sure that Peterborough-Kawartha has a fair shot at it at a sustainable future over the coming years and decades.

Ayesha  36:44

Can you tell me about your biggest priorities for Peterborough and the most important aspects of your platform?

Maryam Monsef  36:50

There has been a lot accomplished over the past six years, but there’s so much more work to be done around affordability, around health and safety, and to improve our connections and respond to the next crisis that we have to deal with, that of climate change. So, for affordability to make life more affordable for our seniors, for elders, to see through the $10 a day childcare to see that move forward here in Ontario, so that parents paid half of what they’re paying right now in a year and get to $10 a day like Quebec has in five years, that’s a big priority for me for women’s rights for labor shortages, and for economic growth. And then housing, we’ve got a pretty ambitious plan on the table to build to renovate to subsidize another 1.4 million units of housing and a smart plan to make buying your first home particularly easier for young people, whether it’s with their you know, support with saving up for their down payment or reducing mortgage rates or protecting rights. And so that affordability piece is most certainly a priority. Health and safety. Like I think the pandemic has taught us a lot. It’s also you know, I think one of the big lessons is health is wealth. And for a healthy community, post-pandemic mental health supports are going to be essential. So having, for example, at Trent and Fleming, more mental health supports as part of the more than 1000 frontline supporters we’re going to hire is a big deal for me, I helped start Active Minds at Trent. And so to see that kind of come full circle, I want to see that see that through because if our young people are broken, post-COVID, then the future of our country is at risk. I want to see the water at curve lake that incredibly important project through. We were able to in our first two mandates convince Ottawa first that they did have a boil water advisory, they did have a clean water challenge. Second, to fund the design of the treatment facility. And this February when that design is completed, there is money set aside to then build the thing. And I want to be there to see that through and you know, health and safety for me, of course, also includes what happens for women, for indigenous folks. Equity for me is a public health and safety issue first and foremost. And I’d be remiss if I shared today on overdose Awareness Day. Our downtown particularly gives us a glimpse of the mental health crisis that is facing our community. Problematic substance use is is real, it’s a public health issue. It is not a criminal issue and so moving forward with additional supports there is also a priority. And then you know, the other lesson of COVID is just how interconnected we are, and improving our connections through a better high speed internet for our rural communities, bringing that train and making sure it does go through Peterborough to create jobs and more sustainable growth is a priority. And you know, nothing connects us as a global community, the way climate change does. We have a pretty smart and ambitious plan to get us to net zero by 2050. And so all of this makes for a very busy mandate ahead. And I really hope that Peterborough-Kawartha gives me another opportunity to serve.

Ayesha  40:42

And the next question is about your partisan involvement. Could you speak to your Liberal Party involvement? What’s exciting you about the platform, and Justin Trudeau right now?

Maryam Monsef  40:53

Well, I joined the Liberal Party. And because those values I have around social justice, climate, justice, equity, the party holds them very strongly. And what separates the Liberal Party from other left-leaning parties is that not only do we have those values, but we have the plan in place, the team in place and the leadership in place to get it done, what excites me is actually $10 a day childcare, women have been fighting for this for half a century. Back in December, we marked 50 years since the Royal Commission on the Status of Women put that report on the desk of every MP in the House of Commons. And of their hundreds of recommendations, childcare was key. And here we are 50 years later, this close to getting it done for Ontarians. And I want to see that through because that’s going to be a game changer for our country, and for the women’s movement. So that excites me. What frightens me is the future that little ones, and we are going to inherit with the climate challenge in front of us. Scientists, advocates have been calling for stronger action, and the Liberal Party of Canada has put forward a comprehensive plan to get us to net zero emissions by 2050, to make sure that those who are going to be harmed the most through the transition are supported with skills development and other opportunities. And I want to be a part of that change, because the alternative is very likely going to be a party in government that actually has not yet accepted that climate change is real, and that the human activities around us here in Canada, around the world contribute to it. And then you know, what excites me is the future of our community. I’m, I’m optimistic there’s don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of pain here. There’s a lot of poverty here. But there’s more potential, particularly on the other side of the pandemic. And within the Liberal Party within the Liberal team. I have the relationships over the past few years, I have learned as my whole team has how to get things done. And we’ve gotten a lot done for our community. So, whether it’s childcare or climate action, or housing, there’s unfinished business and plenty of opportunity with a reelected Liberal government. And I’m excited to continue to be the champion for Peterborough-Kawartha in Ottawa, but also continue to, you know, share the best practices that this community has, we have solutions that the rest of the country can learn a lot from. And I like sharing those solutions, because they have been solutions that people have painstakingly developed. And if it’s going to save time and save suffering elsewhere, then there’s meaning to that, you know, that hard work here.

Ayesha  43:45

Thank you. And with our last minute, are there any final words that you’d like to share?

Maryam Monsef  43:49

No, I appreciate you taking the time Ayesha. And I have a feeling we’re going to talk again soon.

Ayesha  43:56

No doubt. Thanks so much for you. I really appreciate it. Thank you. That was Marian Monsef. Next we’ll hear from Chanté White, the candidate for the Green Party of Canada.

Ayesha  44:18

So, could you just introduce yourself, just say a short introduction, your name and the party you’re running for?

Chanté White  44:24

Yes. So my name is Chanté White, and I’m your Green Party candidate here in Peterborough-Kawartha. I also just wanted to thank you, for involving me in this experiment. I know that this is an independent journalism source. And I think that it’s really important for us to open up the worlds for more independent journalists. So, thank you.

Ayesha  44:48

Thanks I appreciate that. What would you say are the most important aspects of your platform and the larger Green Party platform?

Chanté White  44:55

Yeah, so a few years ago, my partner and I were nearly the victims of an extreme weather event, we were on a trip to Mexico when a category three hurricane hit. We were nearly swept away. And it happened so quickly, almost almost without warning that we didn’t really know what was happening. You spent two to three days without food, water, electricity, all the things that we value a lot here in Canada, before we were evacuated, so that life changing event definitely made me take a second look at climate change. And how lives specifically here in Peterborough-Kawartha would be affected by extreme weather events caused by climate change. So examples like fires and BC and like the droughts that are happening there and the one that was happening, Peterborough, across Alberta, and Ontario all cause food prices to skyrocket as a direct correlation with climate change. Extreme heat, which is something that we’re dealing with right now also forces us to spend a fortune on electricity to cool our homes, which then causes a strain on the electricity grid. Peterborough was the epicenter of a major flood in 1984 that caused millions of dollars in damage. And unfortunately, I fear that we’ll have more events like this as a result of climate change. So those are just a few of the immediate financial costs associated with climate change. And Peterborough residents are telling me that they’re worried. I’ve spoken to farmers, and they’re telling me that they’re worried about how their farm is going to survive. If they we continue to have extreme weather events like this. So, my campaign as a whole is focused on three main ideas. But climate change is definitely the top priority because it affects everyone and every industry as well.

Ayesha  46:44

How and why did you first get involved with the Green Party? And what’s exciting you about the party, its platform and the leader Annamie Paul?

Chanté White  46:49

Yeah, so the story that I just explained that definitely played a lot into my climate action. As well, my studies in environmental science led me to realize that the Green Party was my only political home. The party is purpose built to confront climate change. And our new leader, Annamie Paul has a depth of education experience that puts her head and shoulders above the other party leaders. She speaks a handful of languages, including French, she’s also a lawyer by trade, and works in the International Criminal Court and is a career diplomat, who represented Canada and the European Union, and started democratic institutions in Canada and Europe. It’s important to note that to the other party leaders are the sons of former politicians, but Annamie Paul is self-made. She represents what young men and women can achieve with hard work and dedication. So, if you’re not the son or daughter of a politician, but want to get involved in serving your community, the Green Party is definitely the place for you. As well, I invite everybody to watch the leaders debate before casting their vote, they can make a decision that the Green Party has a real plan to fight climate change. The Green Party has a real plan to fight poverty through guaranteed livable income, as well, the Green Party will create millions of jobs in the new green economy.

Ayesha  48:12

And is there anything else you think people should know about the Green Party or yourself? Would you like to speak to you like your place in the Peterborough community? Or is there anything else you want to add? Or that we should know about you?

Chanté White  48:24

I think that covers a lot about me. I mean, I’ve been volunteering in the community with organizations like Future Majority for several years. And through my volunteerism with them, I was able to speak with a lot of young voters and really see what matters most of them. You know, the youth are the future of the world. And I think it’s important that we speak with them and get their input, because we will be leading this world one day. So, through the work that I was doing future majority, I was able to speak with a lot of youth who have issues with mental health and accessing mental health care. That’s something that the Green Party is definitely focused on as well. Issues around education and affordability. Those are really big issues. I know even for myself, I just graduated and I have all this student debt that I need to take care of. But it’s it’s very difficult to find a job that’s going to pay you more than minimum wage, especially when you come right out of university. So definitely having supports in place that will help students leaving post-secondary will definitely be a benefit or even kids leaving high school. It’s really hard to get a job these days. I think it’s important that we support our youth and our young people.

Ayesha  49:46

Well, great. Well thank you for answering all my questions and good luck with the campaign.

Chanté White  49:50

Thank you. Thanks for taking the time. I look forward to seeing or hearing this.

Ayesha  49:58

That was Chanté White, who is running for the Green Party of Canada. She’s also our last segment of this episode. You’ve been listening to interviews with the candidates running in the 2021 federal election in Peterborough-Kawartha. This episode was produced by Leina Amatsuji-Berry, Will Pearson and meet Ayesha Barmania. Music in this episode is by local musician Erika Nininger, check out her work at erikanininger.bandcamp.com. There’s also a link in the show notes on our website. This podcast is published by Peterborough Currents. We’re a small but mighty team that produces in depth community-oriented journalism. We are reader supported and independent. You can support our work and help make more reporting like this possible by becoming a financial backer. Check out our website Peterboroughcurrents.ca/support-us. Thank you so much for listening and talk to you again soon.

Filed under: Federal election 2021