He has served as Beausejour’s Member of Parliament for more than a decade but Dominic LeBlanc does not take that fact for granted.
The veteran Liberal MP said he’s well aware of how important each election campaign is, and how hard he has to work to gain the confidence of voters.
“Each time you ask people to vote for you, it’s always a challenge,” he said. “I feel confident going into this election but not without the need to work hard.”
With his fifth election campaign in 11 years, LeBlanc said he simply hasn’t had the time to be complacent.
“I have tried to be accessible, visible and open as an MP . . . and I think I’ve been able to accomplish a great deal for Beausejour.”
But much more remains to be done, he acknowledges, and he hopes he is given the opportunity to continue working for the constituents of the riding once again following the May 2 vote.
LeBlanc said he believes strongly that Tantramar residents will benefit more from a Liberal-led government than another four years of Harper’s Conservatives.
“The Liberal priorities respond to people’s need for health care, for home care, for their public pensions and for child care.”
The incumbent MP said he is in “profound disagreement” with the Conservative policies that would provide substantial tax cuts to large corporations, as well as see $13 billion spent on new mega-prisons and $30 billion towards the purchase of new fighter jets.
“We think that money could be better spent,” he said.
LeBlanc said he’s rather see the government focused on funding infrastructure improvements across the country, as well as addressing concerns over unemployment, health care and education, particularly in a time of economic upheaval.
The Liberals, if elected, would take steps to reverse Harper’s $6-billion-a-year “corporate tax giveaway,” said LeBlanc.
“It’s crazy that the government is cutting taxes for large businesses when we have a record deficit. They’re basically borrowing money to cut taxes when we don’t have enough money to renew infrastructure.”
He also pointed out the proposed purchase of stealth attack fighter jets is also an unnecessary expenditure in today’s weak economic climate, particularly doing so without a competitive bidding process.
“There are much more affordable planes on the market we can afford now,” said LeBlanc.
He explained the Liberals would use some of that money on a new grant program for university students, a child care program that would provide parents with easier and more affordable access to early childhood education for their kids, enhancing the seniors’ income supplement, and improving the public pension plan.
Locally, he says one of the top concerns in Beausejour is about jobs and the worry of whether young people will have the opportunity to stay in the region after they graduate.
As well, he said he regularly speaks with local business owners about the challenges they face in today’s economy, such as gaining access to capital in order to develop new markets. And he said it certainly hasn’t improved the situation with government cutbacks to organizations like ACOA, making it more difficult for entrepreneurs to compete.
LeBlanc, who has been the MP for Beausejour since 2000, said the Liberals’ biggest challenge this election campaign will be to persuade the leftist voters to mark their ballot for them.
“We need to convince the 65 per cent of Canadians who did not want a Conservative government (in the last election) that the best way to avoid the re-election of Harper’s authoritarian, controlling and undemocratic regime is to vote Liberal,” he said. “Because as long as we continue to split the centre left vote four ways, we allow the Harper regime to continue.”