Interviews: Over Coffee

Randy Boissonault Gets Real | The Argument for Four More Years | Tee Adeyemo

We arrived an hour early to the constituency office of Edmonton-Centre Member of Parliament Randy Boissonnault. We needed the extra time to find parking, or at least understand how parking works downtown. At the set time, we walked into his constituency office and his staff,  initially apprehensive because they could not find us in their diary,  discovering that it was a media interview, were very charming and accommodating. To show you the kind of man he is, when we got there, Randy was in a meeting with the leadership of Black Canadian Women  (BCW).  Dressed casually in a green short sleeve shirt Randy shared with us his key achievements and his hope for Canada under a Liberal Government. The thing you cannot help but be inspired by his inclusiveness, warmth and love for diversity.

Who is Randy Boissonnault? According to his page on the Liberal Party website, "Randy Boissonnault was first elected as Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre in 2015. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage. He led the creation of the Energy & Environment Caucus within the national Liberal caucus, where MPs meet to share policy and promote the importance of Canada’s energy sector.

As Chair of the Alberta Caucus and Vice-Chair of Prairie & Northern Caucus, Randy played a key role in developing annual increases to Western Economic Diversification and a further increase of $100M over three years to the department to support Alberta and Western Canadian businesses. As a proud member of Indigenous Caucus, he and other Caucus champions are working tirelessly to complete an effective Urban Indigenous Strategy that will provide funding and initiatives to increase the economic participation of Indigenous Peoples across Canada.

In April of 2016, Randy and his team dreamed big, defied the naysayers, and staged the first raising of the Pride Flag by any Prime Minister on Parliament Hill. In 2016, he was appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to a new role as Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 Issues.

As Special Advisor, Randy recently announced a new $30M funding program for Canadian LGBTI civil-society organizations working to advance sexual orientation, gender expression, and identity rights in developing countries around the world. To further support the Government of Canada’s mission to improve the lives of LGBTQ2 people in Canada, Budget 2019 includes an unprecedented $20M investment over the next two years for LGBTQ2 community service organizations to build their capacity and to help ensure effective service delivery on-the-ground within Canadian communities.

Randy is also a member of the Standing Committee on Justice & Human Rights, and the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, where he has worked diligently on studies including human trafficking, the mental health of jurors, and the support of remuneration to Canadian artists." 

To be fair, the interview went much better than I had anticipated. We left the interview enthused by his warmth, his tone, his deference and his willingness to engage with ethnic media.  Randy spoke to the core of Liberal values: inclusion, diversity and human rights. He spoke about why Edmonton should give him four more years to finish the job he started. He has a heart for new immigrants, immigrants, women, men, seniors and everyone in this society. 

Our Take: Why Four More Years? 

Prosperity for more Edmontonians: "This means jobs for more people. I know there are lots of Caucasians men in business, I want them to succeed, I want to make sure the opportunities are there for everybody. I want all people to succeed. We need to make sure we grow the economy in such a way that is good for the economy.  We need more women, more indigenous to succeed in business. We cannot say this enough. It is about creating jobs for more people. I was just in a meeting with BCW and six out of eight of them already had side businesses. The question is how many people know about Business Link and Alberta Women Organisation? We have more work to do". 

Human rights for all: Human rights for everyone in Canada and internationally.  Equal pay for equal work. We need to have more women in science, technology, engineering and maths, we need to have more women in trade and politics. We cannot have women on 83c an hour any more. We need to make sure we level the playing field. This includes the indigenous communities, the LQBTQ community and new immigrants. 

We need to make sure we are growing the economy. Climate change is real. We can extract fossil fuels smarter, cleaner, greener and we can take the profits to make sure we are funding the next generation of businesses. I think our approach to TMX is the way to go. We have said the profits from TMX will go to green initiatives. 

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