This is the third election for Liberal candidate Lloyd Longfield, and he’s hoping for a third victory. If Longfield is successful on September 20, and he ends up serving another four-year term, that means a Liberal Party candidate will have served as Guelph’s Member of Parliament for over three decades. So why vote Liberal, and Longfield, again? He wants to see the pandemic through to the end.
“The personal stake for me is the recovery phase of what we’ve been going through for 18 months, and hopefully, we’re heading into the recovery phase,” Longfield said on the most recent episode of Open Sources Guelph. “I think we’ve seen a lot of business recovery, but there’s still a long ways to go. And then there’s the new economy with all the green jobs and Guelph is well positioned to get going into this new economy.”
In terms of the campaign, it’s been kind of rough for people running under the Liberal banner, and it’s been an especially rough ride for Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. Longfield blames a global political climate of anger and suspicion of governments and government leaders.
“Some of it should be attributed to the personalities involved, but I think a lot of it has to do with frustration in general,” Longfield said. “But it’s not acceptable to have rocks thrown or to protest in front of hospitals where people are trying to save other people’s lives. There is a pushing back, and we need to look at how we deal with the divisions that exist in Canada, and exist elsewhere with progressive governments.”
But the anger is not entirely irrational. Many progressives in Canada expected big, sweeping action on climate change, and while they did get a carbon tax, they also got a Liberal government that spent billions of dollars buying the Trans Mountain pipeline.
“In terms of pipelines, yes, that is an argument that’s out there, and you’re right to point it out, but the goal is capping emissions on oil and gas, and then having those emissions go to net zero,” Longfield explained. “We’ve got very high grades on our approach, which is the price on pollution, the credits going back to the people, limiting or capping the emissions from oil and gas, introducing electric buses and electric vehicles, new building standards and going for deep retrofit programs.”
“It’s all part of the plan to get us to net zero by 2050, or earlier, and I always say ‘or earlier’ because we also wanted 75 per cent of Canadians to be vaccinated by September, and we did that by July,” Longfield add. “So let’s set the goal, and then beat the goal.”
To the people that want the government to move faster on climate action, Longfield quotes The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “Don’t panic!” but also, be specific.
“I would say to the protesters, ‘Be specific.’ Where do we need to accelerate? Where can we do better specifically? And then let’s set those goals in place, measure them, and make sure that we’re on track,” Longfield said. “Yes, we need to panic because there is a crisis, but we don’t need to panic in an uncontrolled way. We need to be controlled with our responses knowing that we only got one shot at this, and we better make it a good one.”
In terms of that 30 years of Liberal dominance in Guelph, Longfield isn’t taking anything for granted in order to secure a re-election being a foregone conclusion, but he does believe that the values and goals of his party, and the values of the collective riding, align.
“I’m not sure what Election Night will look like, but with Guelph leading on climate change initiatives, leading in agriculture, having the university here with a lot of progressive thinkers, and many people coming from the university and choosing to live in Guelph, I’m very pleased to be part of the whole action with the Liberal Party,” Longfield said.
You can learn more about Lloyd Longfield and his campaign by accessing his website here.
You can hear the whole interview on Open Sources Guelph, download the episode on your favourite podcast app at Apple, Stitcher, Google, and Spotify.