Area MP poised for potential federal election

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>Bernadette Jordan</p>

Bernadette Jordan responded to LighthouseNOW questions concerning her future as an MP and matters in politics that have made headlines in recent weeks. Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

If opposition parties in the House of Commons decide to topple the Trudeau government in a confidence vote after this month's throne speech, South Shore-St. Margaret's MP Bernadette Jordan intends to seek re-election.

However, Nova Scotia's voice in cabinet believes her Liberal government "should be okay" if the September 23 Governor General's address contains a good plan of support and recovery for Canadians. Jordan, the federal minister of Fisheries and Oceans, has no reason to believe it won't, given the array of aid packages and programs rolled out during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We're not through this pandemic yet. We still have a long way to go [and] we won't be through it until we have a vaccine," Jordan told LighthouseNOW during a recent interview. "But we need to make sure we continue to thrive as a country, and make sure that we can still rely on our economy and grow our economy."

The 57-year-old second-term MP hopes to still be in parliament to help see her constituents through the recovery, while pursuing issues still on Ottawa's radar, such as the climate crisis.

LighthouseNOW (LN): Should the government get defeated, is it your intention to run again?

Bernadette Jordan (BJ): "Yes, actually it is my intention to run again. Right now, that is absolutely the case. I think we've done a good job. I'm proud of the government and what we've accomplished. I'm proud of the things we've accomplished here in South Shore-St. Margaret's."

This assumes the next federal election is in a year or two. "If it's four years, who knows where I'm going to be in four years. I can tell you if we [government] do not survive a confidence vote in the fall or the throne space, yes, I have every intention of running again," she explained.

Target of threats, abuse

Meanwhile, Jordan is troubled by patterns of aggressive, harassing, and abusive behaviour targeting female politicians, including herself. While social media makes getting unfiltered messages directly to the public, it's become a platform for anonymous users in cyberspace to spew hate toward elected officials. Ottawa MPP Lisa MacLeod and Jordan's caucus colleague, Catherine McKenna, are examples of female politicians on the receiving end of vitriol and misogynistic comments.

"I've had to have police escorts to town hall meetings because of threats I've received online," she explained to LighthouseNOW. "I had a gentleman in my office who told me that 'people like me are the reason people like him buy guns.'"

Women have an important voice and the ability to make positive change in the political arena, Jordan suggested, but so many will opt-out of running for office because of the abusive behaviour of others.

"It's unacceptable; it's totally unacceptable. It needs to stop," she said of the threats and harassment.

Public inquiry

Why didn't she express support of the mass-shooting public inquiry on the same level as the now-scrapped review? There wasn't any "ill-intent" with a review, Jordan explained, it was the difference in timetable compared to an inquiry, which would take longer. "Hearing from Nova Scotian, constituents, families, communities, I was quite happy to see [Public Safety] Minister [Bill] Blair move towards an inquiry. I think it was the right move."

LN: Any observations on the new [federal] Conservative leader?

BJ: "Congratulations to Mr. [Erin] O'Toole. I look forward to constructive healthy debate in the House; looking at ways we go forward as a country though this very difficult time. I'll be interested to see what his policies are as he develops his shadow cabinet and what the Conservatives will offer in the next election."

LN: Any observations on [Bill] Morneau's resignation?

BJ: "I have the greatest respect for [then-Finance Minister] Bill Morneau. He's someone I've worked very closely with, he's done a great deal for this country as finance minister ... I look forward to working with [new Finance Minister] Chrystia [Freeland]. I thnk having her at the helm is going to be very beneficial for us going forward."

LN: Do you think your leader has learned his ethics lesson?

BJ: "I still have full confidence in the Prime Minister. He has said that with regards to the WE situation he should have recused himself from that decision. I mean, honestly, we've been putting out programs as fast as we can to support Canadians."

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