Julie Dzerowicz is running for the Federal Liberal Party Nomination in Davenport. She lives in Davenport, Toronto, and has lived in the area for many years. Davenport has largely been a Liberal stronghold until the last elections when the NDP took power.
However, Julie is determined to win back the hearts and minds of the people living there. She meets with numerous business leaders and local inhabitants and on September 19, 2014 she sat down with the New Pathway for an interview at her Davenport home.
She is running for political office there because she strongly believes that in order to be a political representative, you must be from the area you are going to represent. Her opponent, on the other hand, lives in Mississauga, runs a business on Bloor St. and is semi-retired. She insists that there “are big differences between us.”
In that statement she is correct: she lives in the heart of her riding, she’s been active in the community on development, environment and education issues and she has a lot of political experience. She has written policies for both national and provincial levels and she has been a campaign manager twice. Julie is also an idealist that knows the hardships of her area and is willing to tackle them on a national level.
When asked why she got involved in politics, Julie was open about her passion for her profession. “It’s one of those things that I’ve always wanted to do…My dad always wanted to watch W5 or the news…and that’s how I became enthralled with politics at an early age.”
She became aware of Canadian politics and became aware of her own self-worth by becoming a leader in the community – even as early as high school when she began an intermural program when none was offered. “It was a natural thing, my parent’s didn’t push me, it was a natural progression of the stuff that I really love to do – helping people.” She believes that’s at the very core of what a good politician should be: they have to love helping those in need and help make other people’s lives better in the process.
She is running because the former Liberal Davenport representative – Mario Silva – lost the 2011 election to NDP opponent Andrew Cash. “This is a storied Liberal riding…there are strong Liberals in this riding…it’s been a very working class but progressive area.” Her opportunity to run came after she did a fundraiser for Justin Trudeau and was inspired by his passion for politics. She has always been a Liberal and environmentalist and that is why she chose the Federal Liberal Party. Her environmentalism is shared by the party leadership which has a former World Wildlife Fund Canada President, Gerry Butts, as a Principal Advisor. “I don’t have to explain the language on what’s happening on around bio-diversity and climate change…We can start working on actual positions with them.”
Furthermore, Julie acknowledges that any good leader also needs as many opinions about a certain subject as he can get. Justin Trudeau for instance, also has a former consultant to the oil sands companies working for his team. She insists that this diversity is what makes the Federal Liberal Party the most open in its dealings with the major problems associated with Canadian politics.
When asked what she would like to tackle when she does get into Ottawa, she points out that because Davenport is a downtown riding, the main local concern is for the kids, youth and seniors to stay active. “So soccer fields become important and our seniors not being isolated is important.” Immigration is also another issue that is also very diverse and she insists on asking the local community about their opinions and problems on various topics. Coming from immigrant parents, Julie does seem to understand the fundamental problems associated with newly arrived immigrants into Canada.
She also has an economic development plan whose first prong is infrastructure. “When canvasing the area, at almost every single door when asked what their number one issue is, almost everyone said transit.” She believes that if you want to create an economy of the 21st century, it will not be done by creating three subway stops in Scarborough but rather they need to “look at a mass transit plan that actually gets the whole GTA economy moving again. We’re talking about 25 lines and a much broader vision than what we have now. But I would also include in that plan a change for our shipping routes which have been altered by climate change. We also have to look at what’s the infrastructure around that and how best to change it to meet the needs of this century. I’m also big on high-speed rail…If we’re setting Canada up for the future, how can we do this and grow our economy to include places like Buffalo, Cleveland and New York.”
She also believes in “soft infrastructure” which is championing both health care and education because it is the “great equalizer”. Julie believes that we have a good health care system but we need to acknowledge the two important issues associated with it: a demographics change and funding issues. “Health care can’t be funded by 50% of the provincial budget.” She wants to look at how we can provide that leadership to transition it into a 21st century system. Julie also believes that the world of work has changed and the federal government needs to help the younger generation transition into the workforce of the 21st century. She believes that the current government is not doing a good job at that as evidenced by the number of unemployed youth. “Just in terms of skills and capacities that we build…we haven’t set up Canada for this modern world.”
She is also worried about Canada’s “abdicating its global citizen responsibilities on an international stage.” It’s an irresponsible thing to do especially in a world where institutions like the United Nations are at a stand-still. Julie’s beliefs about the situation are very common: she, like many others, believes that global institutions, particularly the UN, were set up in a very different time. There are things that they do well today particularly “in regional agreements and we need to build upon that.”
However, she is also fully aware of the limitations of the UN: an example of this is taking away the veto power of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council who can “veto their own taking away of their veto.” She believes that there needs to be an honest discussion about the limitations of the UN and its benefits. That is where she would start getting Canada involved more in international affairs.
The situation in Ukraine is a concern for her and she believes that there needs to be a new form of diplomacy that needs to be institutionalized since the management of the current crisis has not been working well. “We’re in a completely different age and I think this is why Canada not being a global citizen has been a great disservice to the world because we used to be great diplomats…And then we lost it. When we don’t put that focus in there we’re not transcending that capacity to develop our diplomacy. So we have a lot of catch up to do.”
Julie believes that in order for the Ukrainian problem to be acknowledged more in federal politics, people need to vote for those who will take up their cause and voice their opinions in Ottawa. The more MP’s who are aware of the problems in Ukraine and the passion that their local constituents feel about it will make Canada an even closer ally to Ukraine. “You have someone like Chrystia Freeland who has been front and centre in the active fight for Ukraine…you need to get voices like myself and others who will be the champion of Ukraine in the Trudeau government.”
She closes off the interview by asking everyone to educate themselves on how the nomination process happens. The riding has two Ukrainian churches and for her it is a call for anyone living in the riding to register themselves to vote in the nomination process if they want to see someone championing the Ukrainian cause in the federal government.
You can find out more about Julie Dzerowicz on voteforjulie.ca where you can also find out more information on how to vote in the Federal Liberal nominations.