Nathalie Des Rosiers commits to supporting LRT, student issues

On Nov. 17, Liberal candidate and dean of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, common law section, Nathalie Des Rosiers was elected as a member of provincial parliament (MPP) for the Ottawa-Vanier riding as part of the November by-election.

Des Rosiers is an expert in constitutional law, and is a former general counsel at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

The Ottawa-Vanier riding has been in Liberal control since 1971, and covers Vanier, student-heavy areas like Sandy Hill and Lowertown, and other neighbourhoods such as New Edinburgh.

The Ontario Liberal Party swept into power by a 19-point margin, winning 48 per cent of the votes.

Other candidates in the by-election consisted of André Martin of the Progressive Conservative (PC) Party, Claude Bisson of the New Democratic Party (NDP), and Raphaël Morin of the Green Party.

The campaign process itself was short, lasting just over a month. However, Des Rosiers described it as “very intense,” in an interview with the Fulcrum.

During the campaign, Des Rosiers pledged to continue support of the city’s light rail transit (LRT) line, and to fund one-third of a proposed truck tunnel to direct truck traffic away from the downtown core, especially on Waller Street, Rideau Street, and King Edward Avenue. This could prove beneficial to U of O students and staff who use those streets to commute to and from the university.

“There’s lots of issues about the management of the traffic and the big trucks on King Edward, and that has a big impact on the safety of pedestrians, so that was a big local issue,” Des Rosiers said.

Des Rosiers has also promised to increase funding for the Ottawa Police Direct Action Response Team and Guns and Gangs teams to combat a rise in violent crime in the city. She also pledged to continue to fund affordable housing. For example, Des Rosiers discussed allocating funds towards the Investment in Affordable Housing for Ontario, and the Social Infrastructure Fund for the Social Housing Improvement Program.

However, during the campaign Des Rosiers said little about pocketbook issues such as high hydro prices, which was a cornerstone of the PC platform.

She also spoke to the Fulcrum about issues affecting students, such as increasing Ontario Student Assistance Program loans for students for low-income families, and working hard to protect the rights of student workers.

“Many young workers are exploited on the job, and that’s completely unacceptable,” Des Rosiers said. “So there is lots of work to ensure that minimum standard of safety at work are met, no sexual harassment, no psychological harassment, all these policies are being implemented for all workers.”

With Des Rosiers’ win, the Liberals have now secured 58 seats in the Ontario legislature. The PCs and NDPs combined control 49 seats.

“It’s a real privilege to participate in the campaign, you meet people of Ottawa and people tell you not only their concerns and the things they don’t like about the government, but also their hopes for the future.”