Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to our latest online chat. Today's guest is Kitchener-Centre Liberal candidate, Karen Redman. Fresh off last night's debate at The Tannery, Karen, are you ready for more questions?
Great to be here out of the cold after a morning of canvassing.
Thanks for the question Jenn. I believe in life-long learning. I'm currently a Masters Student in Poli Sci at WLU. Liberals believe "if you get the grades you get to go." That's why we're proposing student support for $4,000 for students going to university and college and $6,000 for low-income students.
Since becoming leader, Michael Ignatieff has spent his time listening to Canadians. Our platform reflects those conversations. I know he's a proud Canadian and will make a great Prime Minister.
Thanks for the question Kate. Gas prices are extremely high which is a strain on family budgets. Our Liberal platform invests in families providing child care, health care and family care -- all of which will help relieve the financial squeeze facing families.
I believe there are still challenges facing women in the political arena. Leaders like Michael Ignatieff demonstrate that they value women's contributions which is essential to attract more women to public life. I am running to serve Kitchener Centre because I believe I have a significant contribution to make both as a woman and as a Member of Parliament. Thank you Cynthia.
I've worked in minority and majority Parliaments. Minority Parliaments, like Paul Martin's minority, worked well as we cooperated with all other parties on an issue by issue basis in Parliament. I've worked very closely with Whips of all other parties. It's been my experience that Parliament works best when all parties focus on good representation and good legislation, rather than partisan games. Thank you Lisa.
Hi Ian - It was a thrill to have Michael Ignatieff open my campaign office and meet with so many local supporters. It is my hope that he will be back in the area very soon.
Thanks for the question Anne. For me being a Member of Parliament has always been about public service. I welcome the opportunity to serve again. I've always worked hard as a Member and during campaigns - door-knocking is one of the best parts as I get to hear from so many people. This is a close race and I encourage everyone to vote.
The ratification of Kyoto was something done for our children and grandchildren. I think the environment is of utmost importance and I was very proud to represent Canada at UN meetings where the entire world was discussing what action to take. While this is a significant issue, the most gratifying part of serving is always the difference you can make of the lives of the people you represent.
If my account is any indication, we have the "Twitterverse" to thank for generating some momentum during this chat. Wow, the questions are pouring in now! Karen is moving through them quickly so be patient, I'm sure your answer is coming. Our next question is from Perry.
Thank you Perry. It appalls me to know the Harper government used the Auditor General's comments out of context and that her pending report reveals that money was spent in Tony Clement's riding when Mr. Harper told Parliament it was spent on border security. We are having an election on May 2nd because Mr. Harper has not been honest with Parliament or Canadians.
Hi Nick. For 20 years I have served our community and there's never been an election that I thought was more important than the one on May 2nd. I have advocated for child care my entire political career and as the mother of four, I know the choices facing families with young children. I believe that government should be a positive force in people's lives. I'm excited about the Liberal platform because it invests in Canadian families.
There was an internal audit, an inquiry and the RCMP were called in to investigate the sponsorship scandal. It was a terrible situation and the Liberal government of the day took action. Unlike Mr. Harper who withholds information from Parliament and misrepresents how Canadian taxpayers' dollars are spent. The list of Mr. Harper's indiscretions grows daily - he has two Senators under investigation for electoral fraud, a former chief advisor being investigated for influence peddling, reckless and wasteful spending for the G8 and G20. I don't trust Stephen Harper.
Hi Rosie. I believe the rights of all Canadians need to be protected. Democracy must protect the rights of minorities from the tyranny of the majority. Make no mistake, if Mr. Harper were to form a majority, the first right to go would be a woman's ability to choose, next would be the rights of gay, lesbian and transgendered friends and neighbours. I firmly support same-sex marriage.
I thought yesterday was an active chat but we seem to be topping that today. Can you tell the election is getting closer? Ted's question is next.
Hi Ted. Small businesses are the engines that drive the Canadian economy and create jobs. The Liberal platform provides a tax credit for innovation and productivity and will give a full EI premium holiday for youth hires. As part of a responsible, prudent plan, there will be no increases in personal or small business taxes or the GST.
I enjoy talking to my neighbours in Kitchener Centre. I take advantage of campaigns to knock on doors throughout the area. I'm surprised we haven't met in person yet Ben but I am out everyday, all day.
Thirsten, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has been clear that a Liberal government will not form a coalition but will work with other parties in the House on an issue-by-issue basis.
Hey Brenden, the dates for the 570 News/Rogers TV debates are as follows:
Tuesday, April 19th, 7-9 PM (Cambridge riding)
Thursday, April 21st, 7-9 PM (Kitchener-Conestoga)
Tuesday, April 26th, 7-9 PM (Kitchener-Centre)
Thursday, April 28th, 7-9 PM (Kitchener-Waterloo)
Thank you Thomas. Campaigns are an opportunity to talk about ideas and vision for Canadians. I agree with the people who tell me that they object to the negative advertising that the Harper Conservatives have engaged in. Personally, I attend debates, meetings and doorsteps with ideas for a better Canada for all. I do not engage in negative campaigning.
We've reached the 10-minute warning. I'll ask Karen to respond to two more questions -- maybe 3 if she keeps typing so fast! -- before we move onto closing comments.
Hi Ken, thank you for your question. I've had the opportunity to study several different forms of parliamentary elections in other countries. I personally think there is merit in a single, transferrable preferential ballot. However, essential to any reform is an informed discussion of civil society in order to ensure that they know what they're being asked to comment on in any referendum that would lead to electoral change. We need to modernize how we vote as well.
Hi Taylor. Elections are the opportunity we have to voice our views on individual Members of Parliament and governments. This is an election no one can afford to sit out. I share your frustration with the behaviour of the Harper Conservatives. The repeating scandals and the secrecy have become defining characteristics of Mr. Harper's government. Canadians deserve better.
A striking difference between the 2008 election and this one is the role of social media. It is great to have this opportunity to talk to the on-line community. Thank you to everyone who participated and to 570 News for the opportunity. Remember, May 2nd is election day. A Liberal vote is a vote for a better Canada - I ask for your support.
Thanks to everyone who took part today. I'm sorry we couldn't get to every question but, as you can see, we sure did try. We just can't keep Karen here all afternoon.
Please come back on Monday when our Noon hour chat guest will be Lorne Bruce, NDP candidate for Kitchener-Conestoga.