Martin C. Barry
Approaching the end of his first term after more than three years in office, Laval-Les Îles Liberal MP Fayçal El-Khoury received a virtually unanimous motion of approval recently to represent the Liberal Party of Canada once again in the October 2019 federal election.
Seeks four more years
Among the more than 200 people attending an investiture event for El-Khoury at the Château Royal on Dec. 20 were Vimy Liberal MP Eva Nassif, Chomedey MNA Guy Ouellette, Dorval-Lachine-LaSalle Liberal MP Anju Dhillon, Laval city councillor for Renaud Aram Elagoz and Quebec Liberal MNA for Laval-des-Rapides Saul Polo.
If anything, the last three and a half years during which El-Khoury has represented Laval-Les Îles for the Liberals have demonstrated his ability to unify and maintain a balance in a riding where there had sometimes been turbulent relations between Liberals in the not so distant past.
‘Always listening,’ said president
While former Liberal MP Raymonde Folco served five terms before leaving politics in 2011, her time in office was marred by fighting between factions within the Laval-Les Îles riding association and the defection of riding association members.
Current riding association president Viken Afarian praised El-Khoury as an MP who “is always listening to his constituents and always listening to the people from the many communities who are among us this evening and always available to help these people. I think it is rare to see this amount of devotion in someone.”
Committed to serve
Addressing the large crowd, El-Khoury said, “Nearly four years ago to the day, Liberal activists were choosing me to be the official candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada in Laval-Les Îles. And so I made the commitment to serve and defend the citizens of our riding with loyalty, integrity and efficiency. I present myself this evening humbly, but with a feeling of having accomplished something and with some pride.
“I know that in politics the work is never finished,” he continued. “But I also know that since 2015 we have put the situation in Canada back in order; eliminated all the obstructions that the Conservative government had placed in the way of the development of the country; rebuilt the confidence of Canadians towards their federal government, while creating more motives to present with pride our Canadian passport everywhere in the world.”
A lot accomplished
El-Khoury said he was proud that in just three years the Liberal government had managed “to do more work than any other government in the recent history of the country,” he said. He noted that in October 2015, when Canadians last went to the election polls, the Conservative government was leaving behind an unemployment rate of 7.6 per cent.
“Remember this number,” added El-Khoury, referring to the Liberal government’s employment rate figures. “Canada created more than 800,000 jobs in three years and the unemployment rate is at 5.3 per cent; in Quebec as in Canada; the lowest rate in forty years. This is what we call a full employment economy. It is another reason for my pride.”
El-Khoury gave examples of accomplishments by the Liberal government since 2015. They included: More than 60,000 paid student traineeships in the domains of science, technology, engineering, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence; The transfer to Quebec of more than $1 billion for training of workers for new technologies; 100,000 homes in Quebec and 360 municipalities and villages that are now connected to high-speed Internet; More than 40,000 computers which were distributed to schools and non-profit organizations located in isolated areas, to improve digital literacy; And the creation of 25 new research chairs in aerospace, optical and clean energy sectors in universities and learning centres.
At the same time, he also pointed out that the Liberal government improved global trade for Canadian businesses by negotiating and concluding business partnerships with the U.S., Mexico, Israel, the Asian Pacific countries and Europe. In addition, he noted that trade agreement negotiations were also launched with China, Brasil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.
El-Khoury noted that under the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Liberal government re-established the age at which Canadians become eligible to receive old age security payments and income supplements as 65 years (after the Conservatives previously raised it to 67). “We will have the opportunity to state our accomplishments at the beginning of the campaign,” he said, alluding to the campaign period leading towards election day next Oct. 1. “I wish only to say to you, simply and with humility, that none of this could have happened without you and your support. Millions of voters had confidence in us, just as they did here in Laval-Les Îles.”