Garneau tests prairie political climate

Cole Carruthers
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Marc Garneau (center) visited Moose Jaw on Friday for a meet and greet with members
of The Liberal Party, before returning to Regina for Senator Bob Peterson's 75th birthday and retirement tribute.

A flight to the prairies isn’t too stressful for Canada’s first astronaut to visit space.

Liberal House Leader, Marc Garneau touched down in Regina Friday and made his way to Moose Jaw for a meet and greet, before returning to Regina for Senator Bob Peterson’s 75th birthday and retirement tribute.

Garneau is on a national fact finding mission to discover if members of his party wish him to throw his hat (or space helmet) into the political ring for the leadership election, scheduled to be held in Ottawa on April 14.

"People have a chance to hear me and I’m going to meet some Grade 11 physics students ... and talk to them about my career," Garneau said.

 “There is a deadline for filing your candidacy, I’d say it’s within the weeks to come,” Garneau said about his time frame in deciding if he will, in fact, run.

Following the party's results in the 2011 federal election, the Grits have been trying to play catch up with the other political parties and Garneau wants to inform the public the party is well aware of mistakes made in the past and he wants to encourage economic growth, health care expansion and offer help in motivating our youth.

“I think people consider me a person who does have some substance, experience and good track record,”  Garneau said.

“Of course, I have a background in science and Canadian science has a great link with Saskatchewan,” Garneau said about his education and career. “A motivation to have a space program began back in the ‘50s. Scientists at the University of Saskatchewan wanted to learn more about the Northern Lights and that led to our first satellite in Canada.”

Garneau planned to share this piece of pride in Saskatchewan during his visit with students at Vanier Collegiate.

He is taking a message across Canada.

“The message is, we are rebuilding and reconnecting with people. We know we have made mistakes in the past, especially in the West. We want to put the economy front and center — jobs, security for retirement and health care.” These are top priorities and concerns for Garneau.

The Liberals have carried the banner as the multicultural party and Garneau said it will always be a strong focus for the party. But he does wish to make more headway in helping to build a financially strong country.

“Economics will help us in my mind and is one of my biggest preoccupations, but multiculturalism will always be important; we’re a country of immigrants who have been enriched by welcoming all cultures.”

Garneau said he has had first-hand experience in seeing what Saskatchewan has to offer Canada. “We need to exploit our educated population, the knowledge economy, the creative economy, I’ve been to the University of Saskatchewan on many occasions... there is a tremendous pool of talented people here and I think that part of the economy needs more work put towards it than what our current government is doing.”

For more on this article pick up the next issue of the Times-Herald.


Organizations: University of Saskatchewan, Times-Herald

Geographic location: Canada, Regina, Saskatchewan Moose Jaw Ottawa

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