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Editorial: Entrusting our future to people we know

May, 2011

For many of our readers, the choice will have been fairly obvious as decision day neared for the May 2 federal election.

The ridings where The Senior Times is read have been well-served by Liberal MPs. The program adopted by the party promises substantial improvements in social policies, pensions, a broad package to boost aid for post-secondary education and more support for culture. The Conservatives are committed to spending that could reach $35 billion to purchase F-35 jets, to building more jails at a time when the crime rate is decreasing, and to further cutting corporate income taxes, already substantially lower than in the U.S. The direction is clear and it is not one we support.

In Mount Royal, the three leading candidates—incumbent Liberal Irwin Cotler, the NDP’s Jeff Itcush and Conservative Saulie Zajdel—are honourable and sincere in their desire to serve the community. None can compete with Cotler, the MP since 1999, for his lifelong and continuing commitment and action for human rights and social justice. Cotler towers above the others and will serve with distinction, whoever forms the government.

In Outremont, New Democrat Thomas Mulcair, first elected in a 2007 by-election, has proven to be a strong MP, having provided the beachhead for the party’s growth in Quebec as the first to be elected under its banner. He is smart, perfectly bilingual and committed to many of the values shared by liberal Montrealers.

His main opponent, Martin Cauchon, a minister under Jean Chrétien, is seeking a comeback, but a vote for Mulcair will help build the NDP so it can recuperate progressive voters who park their ballot with the Bloc Québécois.

In Notre Dame de Grâce, Marlene Jennings has proven herself an effective constituency advocate since being elected in 1997 and represents the Liberals well in Parliament and as a frequent guest on local media. Whenever issues of language rights or national unity emerge, Jennings speaks out.

In Saint Laurent-Cartierville, Stéphane Dion, the former Liberal leader, has been a tireless advocate for Canadian federalism in his previous incarnation as a university professor. His complex Green Shift environmental policy did not galvanize voters in 2008, but he is someone we need to press ahead on this issue and fight for Canada should the Parti Québécois win the next provincial election.

In Lachine-Lac St. Louis, Francis Scarpaleggia, first elected in 2004, is facing a challenge from Larry Smith, a lawyer, former Alouette football club president and onetime publisher of The Gazette. Scarpaleggia, Liberal water critic, has been effective as a constituency advocate and deserves re-election.

Though the start of Smith’s campaign was dogged by verbal gaffes, including bemoaning the “catastrophic” pay cut he took by accepting to be named senator, base pay $132,000, he has apologized. Smith has shown his commitment to a variety of worthy charitable causes, has strengthened the Alouettes brand and could make a good MP.



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