“For me the pandemic was a real call to action for public service,” McArthur said, during an August 16 phone interview, to explain why she decided to become the Conservative candidate. “Canadians really saw how the government can impact their lives in a pandemic or other crisis.”
McArthur lives in the Hudson area of Western Québec, on the western side of the Ottawa River along the provincial border just south and east of the GPR region. She works in the Toronto area in the finance sector.
“I wanted to run in a riding that was an Ontario riding,” she said, regarding her reasons for becoming the Conservative candidate for the GPR. “I also wanted to run in a riding that was bilingual.”
McArthur’s candidate nomination was confirmed August 12, a few days before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Sunday that a federal election will take place September 20. She takes over from Pierre Lemieux, who took the riding away from the Liberals in 2006 after then-incumbent Don Boudria stepped down to retire from politics after 21 years in office.
Lemieux held the riding until August 2015 when current-MP Francis Drouin regained the riding for the Liberals. Now McArthur seeks to return the GPR to the Conservative fold and she echoed Opposition criticism that the incumbent minority Liberal government is trying to take advantage of positive poll ratings to regain the majority position it lost in the last election.
“My first thought was we shouldn’t be in an election when we are clearly in the fourth wave of a pandemic,” said McArthur. “People are going to be anxious about getting their kids back to school and getting themselves back to work.”
Key local issues for McArthur in her election campaign include assistance for municipalities with aging infrastructure needs, high-speed Internet service for all areas of the riding, and affordable housing.
“I’m hearing regularly that there’s not enough public housing for young people,” she said.
McArthur is in the process of setting up her central campaign office in Casselman. With a short time frame until the September 20 polls and given that there are still limits on public gatherings because of the pandemic, she expects her election strategy will depend on door-to-door campaigning and meet-and-greets at any local fairs and other special events that take place in the riding between now and Election Day.
“My intention is to get out in the riding,” she said, “and meet as many people as I possibly can.”