Former Prime Ministers don’t mince words. They say it like it is. And so it was earlier this week at the home of Councillor Ruth Kovac and her husband Peter as they welcomed the former PM to Cote Saint-Luc along with an impressive crowd of Anthony Housefather supporters. The fundraiser was held in support of Housefather’s campaign for the upcoming federal election on October 19.
Housefather, Mayor of Cote Saint-Luc welcomed the group and thanked everyone for their “substantial” support. He began by highlighting the reasons why he wants to represent the people of Mount Royal riding as as Member of Parliament.
Using Housefather’s pride in building the CSL Aquatic and Community Centre as an example, he said, “What I learned from Paul Martin is that you never spend more money than budgeted,” he said, saying he helped deliver this major project on-time in 11 months and $800,000 under budget.
“Why am I running? Because I believe that one person can make a difference and can stand up and be counted,” Housefather said, citing many examples of his leadership over the last many years as Mayor and previously as City Councillor. Demerger, fighting the PQs Bill 14 that would have taken away bilingual status, opposing the PQ’s so-called ‘Charter of Values’ and advocating for safer rail cars are some examples where Housefather has spoken out and made his opinions known locally and in the national media.
I know international business and travel the world as a lawyer in a multinational corporation. Our riding is full of business people and Ottawa could use people like me that understand business and how to drive our economy,” Housefather said.
“What a great Parliamentarian he will be!” Martin roared to the crowd to great applause. “Anthony, you are going to shake that place up! When you give your speech in the House of Commons, you will bring the roof down,” the former PM exclaimed. Those in attendance clearly agreed.
Martin was Prime Minister of Canada from 2003 to 2006 and Minister of Finance from 1993 to 2002. During his tenure as Minister of Finance, he erased Canada’s deficit, subsequently recording five consecutive budget surpluses while paying down the national debt and setting Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio on a steady downward track. He was the inaugural chair of the Finance Ministers’ G-20 in 1999. During his tenure as Prime Minister, he set in place a 10 year, $41 billion plan to improve health care and reduce wait times; signed agreements with the provinces and territories to establish the first national early learning and child care program and created a new financial deal for Canada’s municipalities. Under his leadership the Canadian government reached an historic deal with Aboriginal people of Canada to eliminate the existing funding gaps in health, education and housing known as the Kelowna Accord.
After leaving politics, Martin founded the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative focusing on elementary and secondary education for Aboriginal students and the Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship (CAPE) Fund, an investment fund investing in Aboriginal business.
Speaking about the Liberal Party of Canada and its staunch support of the State of Israel, Martin maintained that Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and the party stand strongly by the Jewish State. He said Liberals and Conservatives agree on its support of Israel and said Harper should not play politics where Israel is concerned.
“I do not think it is fair for Harper to pretend that only his party supports Israel,” Martin said, adding that it was when he served as Prime Minister that Canada’s voting record at the United Nations shifted to vote against anti-Israel resolutions and noted that the present day Liberal Party would have the same strong support for Israel when they form the government.
“One of my great heroes was Shimon Peres. I went to Israel and met with him. There is a deep emotional tie,” Martin said of his and of Canadians’ support of Israel.
“I can’t get Anthony elected. You can,” the former PM said, encouraging strong support of Anthony Housefather.
Also in attendance was Marlene Jennings, former MP for NDG as well as the Council of the City of Cote Saint-Luc along with business, community and religious leaders.
Justin Trudeau will be in the riding for a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, July 21 (7:30 p.m.) at the Shaare Zion Congregation on Côte Saint-Luc Road. He will be joined by Mayor Housefather and take questions from the floor.
With additional reporting by Mike Cohen. Read more on Cllr. Mike Cohen’s blog.