After cruising to an easy win in the Oct. 14 federal election, Scarborough-Rouge River Liberal MP Derek Lee said he intends to be more stubborn on behalf of the politics he represents.
“Up to now, I’ve been an MP who is pretty non-partisan and easy to get along with,” he said. “But I think now I’m going to be more chippy and determined because my constituents are really not where the Conservatives are.”
Lee said he will have to be “much more aggressively Liberal” in order to serve his supporters in the current minority Tory government.
“I’ll be operating with more attitude than I have in the past since there are now fewer of us Liberals,” he said.
With the American economy spiraling out of control, Lee said voters are concerned about its effects on Canada and on the local level.
“We’re going to have to deal with the economic crisis bit by bit, blow by blow,” he said.
“Even though our ship may be in good shape, the ocean waters around Canada are very choppy. Our country has to deal with the heavy waters, not with the ship itself.”
What especially worries Lee is that Canada, he says, is at risk of higher unemployment, especially in the manufacturing sector.
“The prime minister and the finance minister have to offer some leadership on this important issue,” he said. “Right now, it’s not clear how things are going to end up for Canada.”
Issues such as immigration and visitor visas are also of great concern for Scarborough-Rouge River, Lee said.
“Three quarters of the riding is made up of immigrants, so they’re always interested in having a much more efficient immigration processing system.”
Lee said that most Canadians don’t like that the Harper government created new rules whenever it was convenient for them.
“The [Harper] government took onto itself the ability to select classes of immigrants that they could advance faster,” he said. “We got used to following the rules here. You don’t come up with a new rule that says ‘we’ll make up the rules as we go along.'”
Lee, who has been an MP for Scarborough-Rouge River since 1988, was re-elected with more than 58% of the votes, while Conservative Jerry Bance was a mile behind him at just over 22%. The NDP’s Ryan Sloan was at 14%.
Beating Bance by more than double the votes, Lee recognized that his riding was in support of Liberal ideals.
“Although many people found the Liberal Green Shift plan hard to understand, the electorate here is not endorsing the Conservative agenda,” Lee said.
Bance said there was no particular issue which decided the election, but that Liberal support was just too strong.