THUNDER BAY – As a cabinet minister, Liberal candidate Patty Hajdu gained valuable insight into the inner workings of the federal government.
But there’s still plenty of work left to accomplish, she said.
And the Liberal party is the only party that has a real plan to both protect the environment and grow the economy, said Hajdu, seeking a second term in Thunder Bay-Superior North.
Hajdu said four years ago she ran because she truly believes when people have a fair chance at success, it’s not just good for families, but for communities and in fact, for the entire country.
“That’s proving to be true. Our investments have actually led to the lowest unemployment rate in the (history) of our country. Growth is happening. Even in Northwestern Ontario we’ve got new growth that’s leading to new challenges, like a labour shortage, for example,” Hajdu said.
“We need to continue to choose forward. We need to move into even more aggressive policies on the environment. Protecting the environment is actually growing the economy and any party that says they don’t have a plan for the environment isn’t taking the economy seriously.”
Over the past four years, Hajdu, 52, took on two major cabinet roles in Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s government.
She was named minister of the status of women in 2015, and two years later took on an even more visible role as minister of employment, workforce development and labour.
While there are plenty of national issues at play in the 2019 federal election, Hajdu said she’s gotten just as much enjoyment working to solve issues germane to her riding, including the local benefits of a national housing strategy.
“Here in Thunder Bay-Superior North, we’ve added 1,500 units of housing across the region, very specialized housing in some cases,” she said. “Support for seniors to age in their own communities, transitional housing that the Salvation Army is building to help people move from shelters to apartments.
“These are the kind of investments that people asked me to work on in 2015, and it’s been great to deliver for the region.”
It’s more than just housing, said Hajdu, the executive director at Shelter House prior to entering the political ring.
“It’s also making sure that people have enough money in their pockets, so things like the Canada child benefit, that’s lifted 300,000 children out of poverty, many of them right here in Thunder Bay-Superior North.”
Calling herself the strongest voice the region has had in a very long time, Hajdu said her position in cabinet gives her a unique chance to loudly fight for all of Northwestern Ontario, not just her own riding.
“That’s resulted in millions of dollars coming into our area that are very specifically focused on the needs of the North,” she said.
Hajdu also pointed to the Liberal record on Indigenous issues, saying they’ve done more for First Nations than any other government in Canadian history.
“And we’re going to continue on that path. But this isn’t something we do for Indigenous people. This is something that we do with Indigenous people. And that’s really been a hallmark of our government,” said Hajdu, whose party has pledged to end all boil-water advisories by 2021, built a community health centre in Beendigen First Nation and finally committed to improving the lives and health of residents of Grassy Narrows.
TBNewswatch.com has profiled all 11 candidates running for office in Thunder Bay-Superior North and Thunder Bay-Rainy River. All the profiles can be found in our election section, Canada Votes.