Why are you running?
After completing my B.A., I worked as a teacher for two years in a girls’ secondary school in Nigeria with CUSO, a non-governmental organization. As a lawyer, I have defended the rights of workers and the most vulnerable in our society. I am an environmentalist determined to protect our waters, lands, and the air we breathe. I want to apply my skills and values in another forum, where I can influence the laws we pass in Canada, to improve quality of life for everyone and to protect our fragile planet.
The NDP platform offers the most progressive and comprehensive platform for doing so. As MP for Pontiac, I will fight for tax reform so everyone pays their fair share, and so we can implement good programs, including job training and development and access to affordable housing in our cities and rural communities.
What is your day job?
I am a lawyer currently working as an employment relations officer with one of the bigger federal public sector unions. For over 30 years now, I have defended the rights of workers, the poor, victims of crime and discrimination, and the most vulnerable groups amongst us. I began my career in a legal clinic, practising traditional poverty law areas. I also ran my own general practice in Hamilton for many years; always with the aim of promoting justice and equality and of protecting the environment.
What are your passions in work and life? (Volunteerism, sport, art, etc.)
I have been an outdoor enthusiast all my life, hiking and canoeing our trails and rivers and fighting to protect and expand our national parks.
I play intermediate volleyball in Cantley, and have taught tai chi for many years, mostly in Chelsea and Wakefield.
Electoral reform is a critical concern for me; reform is sorely needed if we are to continue to call ourselves a democracy. Our current system of first-past-the-post leads too often to the same two parties, both of whom have a much-too-cozy relationship with big business, obtaining 100% of the power, even when 60 to 65% of Canadians vote for a different party than the one that gets to form the government.
What would your short-term and long-term priorities be should you be elected.
We need to re-affirm the role of the federal government in supporting the supply of affordable housing. Liberals promised this while actually cutting the previous government’s commitments by almost 20%! We need to do more to care for our poor, the elderly, and young Canadians.
The unavailability of reliable, high-speed Internet and cell phone service, in many parts of the riding is another critical issue in the Pontiac. The NDP would make unlimited data plans available at rates comparable to plans offered elsewhere. There is no reason for Canadians to pay more than everyone else in the world!
A great concern is the proposed radioactive waste dump at Chalk River, on permeable rock right beside the Ottawa River, which flows into the St Lawrence. Just this week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a report highly critical of the Nuclear Safety Commission’s plans for waste management. The previous and current government’s failure to develop solid science-based policies and strategies for radioactive waste lead them to give an SNC-Lavalin led consortium free rein to deal with Canada’s $8 billion radioactive waste legacy, the effects of which are spread across the provinces of Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec.