Leadership hopeful spreads message

Federal Liberal leadership hopeful Jonathan Mousley spoke in Vernon Saturday

A federal Liberal leadership hopeful believes the party must  be relevant to Canadians if it’s to rebuild.

Jonathan Mousley says he is noticing a sense of optimism among Liberal members but they can’t be complacent that voters will naturally flock back to them once they are tired of the Conservative government.

“We need to connect to the day-to-day concerns of Canadians,” said Mousley, who stopped in Vernon Saturday.

The Liberals, who formed government for years, placed third behind the Conservatives and the NDP in last year’s election.

“We have to earn every vote. We have to give people a reason to vote for us and not a reason to vote for someone else,” said Mousley.

Among the issues he is focused on is youth employment.

Mousley says there is a need to focus on vocational training and apprenticeship programs.

“We need to expand co-op programs across all colleges and universities.”

Mousley also wants a focus on improving infrastructure in communities.

“People sitting in traffic for hours is a national competitive issue and not just a local infrastructure issue,” he said.

Mousley is a senior economist with the Ontario’s Ministry of Finance and he pursued the Liberal nomination in the Toronto riding of Don Valley West in 2008.

He admits that one of the challenges in his current leadership bid is making people aware of who he is.

“That’s starting to change as more and more people meet me and I am getting some national exposure now,” he said. “I am talking about my vision for the party and for Canada. People are receptive to a positive message.”

The other candidates seeking the Liberal leadership are David Bertschi, Alex Burton, Deborah Coyne, Martha Hall Findlay, Karen McCrimmon, David Merner, René Roy and Justin Trudeau.

The winner will be announced April 14.