A boost from Ot­tawa

In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Do­minic LeBlanc talks up Lib­eral hope­ful Mary Jean McFall

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - NEWS - RON­ALD ZA­JAC Rza­jac@post­media.com

Lo­cal Lib­er­als were stress­ing ac­cess to gov­ern­ment as a key ar­gu­ment Wed­nes­day evening with a guest ap­pear­ance by a Trudeau gov­ern­ment cab­i­net mem­ber.

New Brunswick MP Do­minic LeBlanc, the Min­is­ter of In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal and North­ern Af­fairs and In­ter­nal Trade, told a crowd of Lib­eral sup­port­ers and cam­paign work­ers that a vote for Mary Jean McFall in the Dec. 3 by­elec­tion would put the lo­cal rid­ing on the gov­ern­ment benches.

“Mary Jean will be in the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment on De­cem­ber 4 if she’s elected,” said LeBlanc, who stopped by McFall’s King Street West cam­paign of­fice shortly af­ter 6:30 p.m.

“There’s an op­por­tu­nity for the con­stituency to have a ter­rific rep­re­sen­ta­tive.”

McFall is hop­ing to flip Leeds-Grenville-Thou­sand Is­lands and Rideau Lakes from deep Con­ser­va­tive blue to Lib­eral red in the by­elec­tion to choose the late Tory MP Gord Brown’s suc­ces­sor.

The seat was de­clared va­cant in May fol­low­ing the sud­den death of Brown, the pop­u­lar MP who was elected three times to rep­re­sent Leeds- Grenville, then later Leeds-Grenville-Thou­sand Is­lands and Rideau Lakes, for the Con­ser­va­tive Party. Brown died on May 2 of a heart at­tack; he was 57.

McFall, who failed to flip the rid­ing in the 2015 elec­tion but came closer than any re­cent Lib­eral hope­ful, is run­ning against Con­ser­va­tive Michael Bar­rett, New Demo­crat Michelle Tay­lor and Lor­raine Rek­mans of the Green Party.

LeBlanc said he worked with McFall on pol­icy in her ca­pac­ity as chief of staff to Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Lawrence Ma­cAulay, and praised her busi­ness skills and her record of pub­lic ser­vice.

As is cus­tom­ary for such po­lit­i­cal visits, the min­is­ter said McFall would be a great ad­di­tion to Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau’s gov­ern­ment cau­cus.

“For us in Ot­tawa, at the cau­cus and at the cen­tre of the gov­ern­ment of Canada, to have her as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of your con­stituency would be very valu­able,” he said.

Also cus­tom­ary was the call to get out the vote, this time with a ref­er­ence to the often tight races of the pre­vi­ous day’s U.S. midterm elec­tions.

“If the U.S. elec­tion last night showed us any­thing, ev­ery vote makes a dif­fer­ence,” said LeBlanc.

McFall said the Trudeau gov­ern­ment has cre­ated 700,000 new jobs across Canada.

“We need to get on that train and be part of it,” she added.

McFall said the rid­ing is no stranger to poverty, and touted the gov­ern­ment’s re­cently an­nounced ef­fort to re­duce poverty by 50 per cent by 2030.

Both also stressed the im­por­tance of speak­ing up for smaller com­mu­ni­ties.

LeBlanc later said turn­ing the rid­ing Lib­eral is not im­pos­si­ble, re­call­ing that he served with then Leeds-Grenville MP Jim Jor­dan and later his son, Joe, in the gov­ern­ments of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin.

RON­ALD ZA­JAC/THE RECORDER AND TIMES

In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Do­minic LeBlanc speaks at the cam­paign of­fice of Lib­eral can­di­date Mary Jean McFall, right, at a by­elec­tion cam­paign event on Wed­nes­day.

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