Scott Brison has set his sights on being a prime minister for the regions.
The 39-year-old Nova Scotia MP, in Winnipeg yesterday to generate support in his bid for the federal Liberal leadership, said yesterday being raised in the Maritime region gives him a better appreciation of regional issues.
"I've represented a rural riding in a region of the country for nine years, and so I think I have a better understanding of rural Canada and of regional policy questions," said Brison. "I see that as an advantage in Friendly Manitoba.
"The rural Canada side is important. My party has lost a lot of ground in rural Canada. We need to earn it back ...not with false hope but real opportunity." Brison, among 10 people seeking the leadership of the Liberal party, spoke yesterday with the Free Press editorial board.
He said the Liberals, more than any other party, embody the values that most closely reflect those of Canadians.
"Canadians still don't trust the NDP with their tax dollars and they don't trust the Conservatives with their basic fundamental human rights," Brison said. "Our party is very socially progressive, and at the same time we are economically responsible and fiscally responsible." He also said the Liberals have a strong sense of environmental responsibility, adding Canada has leadership role in the energy sector but must do so responsibly.
"One of the fastest growing areas of the global economy in the 21st Century will be clean energy. We can position Canada as a global leader if we put in place the most generous investment tax credits in the world for investments in the research, development and commercialization of those technologies," he said.
Last week, Brison went against many of his fellow Liberal MPs and voted with the Conservatives on extending Canada's military role in Afghanistan.
Brison called Prime Minister Stephen Harper's motion "cynical and flawed" but added a vote against the mission would have damaged Canada's international reputation and harmed soldiers' morale.