Terry Duguid, Liberal — Winnipeg South
'Winnipeg South needs a strong voice in Ottawa and not Ottawa's voice in Winnipeg South'
Why do you want this job?
For the last 10 years, our Conservative MPs have not focused on the priorities of Winnipeg South. Those priorities to me are jobs, infrastructure, support for the University of Manitoba, child care, science and research, and I just felt that Winnipeg South needs a strong voice in Ottawa and not Ottawa's voice in Winnipeg South. I'm running to make a difference in Winnipeg South.
What's the biggest issue for the country and in your riding?
The biggest issue facing our country is the economy. We are the only G7 country in recession. That is largely because our middle class is struggling, so we are focused on the middle class and those working hard to join it. There are a variety of issues, but the main ones are jobs, growth and kick-starting the Canadian economy.
The biggest issue in the riding is jobs, particularly for young people, and infrastructure. We have increasing incidents of frozen pipes, brown water, traffic gridlock, and we are the home of the University of Manitoba and science and research funding have been cut.
What would you do with the Senate?
A number of parties are eliminating the Senate, but you would have to reopen the Constitution to do that. It is a difficult if not an impossible task.
What we would do is reform the Senate. There would be an independent mechanism to select senators to take partisanship completely out of the Senate so we have good, quality people who are not politically hacks. They would be the best and brightest from Canada who can give that second sober thought that the Senate is supposed to be there for.
Winnipeg was described as the most racist city in Canada. What would you do to combat racism?
That's an unfortunate characterization of our city, but it is true that racial discrimination is alive and well, particularly for our First Nations, Métis and Inuit people. We have to address it full on, as our mayor has been doing. I support him in our efforts. We need to bring people together. We need to invest in aboriginal education. My leader, Justin Trudeau, has emphasized increasing funding for aboriginal education.
What role should the federal government play in dealing with climate change?
We've seen absolutely no leadership from the federal government on this over the last 10 years. Climate change is both a federal and provincial and an international issue. We need federal leadership on this file. There are provinces and territories that are addressing the issues in different ways; we support that, but the prime minister of this country needs to convene a meeting between all provinces and workout a framework, set targets and just get it done. But we also have to allow the provinces flexibility to meet those targets based on their individual economies.
If there is one government policy you think is done better in another country, what is it?
In some of the European countries, we have seen a very strong push to reduce greenhouse gases and also retooling their economy for the 21st century. Countries like Denmark and Germany are investing in green energy and infrastructure. These are the jobs of the future, the jobs our young people and universities will take in the future. Mr. Harper has not been investing in innovation, in universities, in these green technologies of the future.
Under what circumstances is deficit spending a good choice?
We are in a recession, the only G7 country in a recession. Borrowing rates are the lowest they've been in decades. Our infrastructure is falling apart. This is the time to invest. Our focus, again, is on jobs and kick-starting the economy. What we are proposing is our deficit for the next few years to be in surplus at the end of our first term. Now is the time for modest deficits, to be half of those from Mr. Harper over the last decade. But we need jobs, growth and investment to create those jobs, to put those people to work, to get the economy moving.
What do you believe is the single most effective way to fight crime?
As in health care, the most effective way to fight crime is prevention. We need to invest in education, in health, and we need to create jobs for young people who sometimes stray off the right path. We need a multi-faceted approach. I really support [Winnipeg] police Chief [Devon] Clunis's approach. It's neighbourhood by neighbourhood. It's using all the tools in the toolbox, with an emphasis on the social dimension.
But the people who commit serious crimes, they need to face the consequences. The Conservative approach has not been working. Our jails have been filing up.
What should be done about homegrown terrorism?
There has to be a much stronger effort and resources put into de-radicalization efforts. We need to work with our communities on how to work with our youth. A strong economy certainly solves some of these problems because some of these dispossessed and wayward youths, they need attention.
We need security. We need to share information. We need a much more coordinated approach.
If there was a gay pride parade in your riding, would you go? Why or why not?
Yes. I've marched in a pride parade before. I believe in equality rights. I believe in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which gives us all the rights, no matter race, religion or sexual orientation.
Have either you or your family had a frustrating experience with the health care system, and what would you do to fix the problem?
A member of my family had a procedure that they had to wait for for many, many months. Mr. Harper said he would make wait times a priority. He has just not made very much progress on wait times. We need a new national health accord to address the issues of wait times.
What would you do to get more people to vote?
I think we have to give people something to vote for. I believe voter turnout will be higher in this election. The mood for change is out there and out there dramatically. People want positive change. Justin Trudeau has presented a very positive platform. I think more people are going to go out to vote. We have to give people something positive to vote for rather than the negative approach Mr. Harper is coming from. I'm very concerned about the youth vote.
What's a better use of federal dollars: fixing roads or building rapid transit infrastructure?
We need to do both. The condition of, say, Pembina Highway, has been nothing short of awful. If you're going downtown in the morning, Pembina Highway is choked with cars. We need to take some of the pressure off it with rapid transit, but also, we need to increase active transportation, which I am very happy to see the city focused on.
Would you support legalizing a small amount of marijuana? Have you ever tried it?
I did a few puffs in my teens, but I was never a user.
I mostly hung out at curling clubs and drank beer when I was of age. But our party has been very clear: We want to take it out of the hands of young people and gangs and our approach will be to legalize, regulate, tax and to ensure marijuana is kept out of the hands of our young people.
We have among the highest rates of young people using marijuana in the world, and the present system is just not working.