• James Armstrong

Pre-election tour brings Trudeau to Hudson

PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG Justin Trudeau (left) on the campaign trail with local Liberal candidate Peter Schiefke at the recent Hudson Street Fair.

Justin Trudeau spent about 45 minutes on a bright summer afternoon at the Hudson Street Fair Saturday, August 1, meeting area residents, visitors and participants. Accompanied by local candidate Peter Schiefke and his team, Trudeau spoke with individuals, shaking hands and taking questions.

During a short media scrum, Trudeau answered questions about the environment, the economy, and the upcoming federal election. Regarding the testing of Enbridge pipeline 9B that runs through the region, Trudeau said petroleum products have to be transported to market as safely as possible.

He said the oversight and approval process carried out by the National Energy Board (NEB) is flawed because many of the board’s members have a vested interest in the petroleum industry. “We have to repair environmental evaluation process,” said Trudeau, “We cannot continue with government giving permits. It is also local communities that give permission.”

As to the second longest federal election campaign in Canadian history, Trudeau emphasized it was the choice of Prime Minister Harper and will end up costing the taxpayer $125 million during an economic recession.

As a prelude to the anticipated official announcement of the election the following day, the visit was a coupe for Schiefke. “The campaign is going great,” he said in an interview on Wednesday, August 13. “The effect of Mr. Trudeau’s visit was fantastic,” he added. According to Schiefke, the news of the visit to Hudson reached across the riding. “Seeing Justin Trudeau and how hard he is working and how he is putting everything on the line, and understanding his schedule, he is doing what every great leader does: he’s setting the pace. He’s saying that there is so much at stake here that I am willing to forego seeing my family for weeks at a time,” said Schiefke. “He is not what he is portrayed to be in the media, he has substance,” he added.

“The most important issue with voters is the economy,” said Schiefke regarding his door-to-door and telephone campaign. When asked why Canada does not have a national fresh water policy, Schiefke said policy development begins at the grassroots voter level. He said Liberal economic and environmental policies are fundamentally intertwined. “I have been working hard to get rid of the concept that the economy and the environment are separate issues when in reality, they are so intertwined that it’s dangerous to have that train of thought.” He said the Liberals are planning to invest $400 million per year into green technology research and development of renewable and sustainable energy resources while cutting all subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. “We have also announced the establishment of a national chair for renewable energy which has never been done before,” said Schiefke. “We are investing in the economy of tomorrow.”

The goal, he said, is to reduce the local national dependence on fossil fuels.