Incumbent candidate Maryam Monsef is running for the third time to represent the Liberal Party of Canada for the Peterborough-Kawartha riding. Monsef has been the riding’s Liberal candidate and Member of Parliament since 2015, ousting Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro. When the most recent sitting of parliament was dissolved, she held cabinet positions representing Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development.
Peterborough Currents spoke with Monsef ahead of the September 20 federal election to discuss how she came into her political career, what her platform is focused on, and why she continues to choose the Liberal Party. Listen to the interview or read the interview transcript below.
Peterborough Currents: So, if you could please introduce yourself and tell us why you’re running.
Maryam Monsef: 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.
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 a sustainable future over the coming years and decades.
PC: Can you tell me about your biggest priorities for Peterborough and the most important aspects of your platform?
MM: 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, [I want] to make life more affordable for our seniors, for elders, and to see through the $10 a day childcare; that’s a big priority for me.
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.
Health and safety– I think the pandemic has taught us a lot. I think one of the big lessons is that 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 workers we’re going to hire, is a big deal for me. I want to 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 through the water at Curve Lake– that incredibly important project. In our first two mandates, we convinced Ottawa first that they did have a boil water advisory, they did have a clean water challenge. Second, we were able 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.
Health and safety for me, of course, also includes what happens for women and for Indigenous folks. Equity for me is a public health and safety issue first and foremost.
Problematic substance use is real, it’s a public health issue. It is not a criminal issue and so moving forward with additional support is also a priority.
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.
PC: Could you speak to your Liberal Party involvement? What’s exciting you about the platform, and Justin Trudeau right now?
MM: Well, I joined the Liberal Party 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.
And then you know, what excites me is the future of our community. 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 made 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 re-elected Liberal government.
This interview was edited for clarity and length. Maryam Monsef was interviewed alongside the other five candidates running in Peterborough–Kawartha, listen to all the interviews here.