Scott Reid (Conservative) has been re-elected as M.P. for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston (LFK). This is Reid’s eighth federal election since winning the riding of Lanark-Carelton as a member of the Canadian Alliance party in the year 2000.
The borders of the ridings have changed, but Reid has remained in Parliament, representing Lanark and the surrounding area for two decades, through four different Prime Ministers and through two conservative party affiliations. He was first elected as a member of the Canadian Alliance and was instrumental as a lead negotiator in merging his party with the Progressive Conservative Party to become the Canadian Conservative Party.
Reid doesn’t envy newly elected MP’s whose lives he says have suddenly become infinitely more complicated. “I have a bunch of things that are already established, people who work for me and who do lots of things, like scheduling the media calls, etc.,” Reid said, whereas, in the case of a newly elected MP, “if you call them, they’ve got to answer messages themselves and sort back through their emails and other messages before they can answer in order. So, in that respect, I can get back to work in an organized, systematic way with help.”
“But in terms of the issues, they shift a little bit from one election to the next, but basically, the underlying issues are always the same,” he says.
For him, that means, “the place of rural and small-town Ontario in this system that we live in, which is in a country that’s primarily urban. We are not the top of mind in the eyes of the media, nor our academic elites or policymakers, not because they are bad people, just because we’re a smaller slice of pie. And so, dealing with that is always the same, but the manifestations of that are different.”
He gives the example of Rural Broad Band Internet being a concern that doesn’t resonate with urbanites, but is extremely important to rural citizens.
Also, he says, “The fact that people are moving out of the city and coming here and buying our real estate, driving up prices, which is on the one hand, good if you happen to be someone who’s retiring, selling your property,” but, “On the other hand, it is bad if you are a young person who was hoping to get a rental place.”
Reid says that even a seasoned MP learns new things as they go door to door in an election. For example, “the housing price issue; I was not aware that, it’s manifested itself in the form of really long waiting lists for rental properties, and that is the sort of the pointy the edge of the stick from the perspective of lower-income people.”
When it comes to representing his riding, Reid says he does his best to help constituents of all political stripes, and that he has a good staff who are very helpful.
On some bigger issues, he has held constituency referendums to help him direct his work and seeks to represent the larger population. He gives the example of the matter of assisted dying, saying “I don’t know what the partisan preferences were of the people who voted for and against it, but a significant number of people were instructing me to vote in favour of assisted dying.”
Further, “[A majority of constituents] told me to vote against conversion therapy when asked about that. And so, I was actually following a majority of people who didn’t vote for me in the election or might not vote for me next time, and against many of the people who would have voted for me in the election.”
How does Reid feel about the election result?
“I was a mixture of being disappointed and being relieved,” he says. “Very much relieved that we did not give Justin Trudeau the majority he asked for. Really relieved. I think that it is really important to see democracy.”
“Obviously [I’m] disappointed in a way that exactly the same results [came in as] last time, it’s breathtaking,” he says. “But upon reflection, I think it’s the case that there is a bit of a different dynamic. I don’t think the Canadian voters will tolerate Justin Trudeau calling another early election. And that means that to some degree, he is hemmed in, and I think that’s a good thing.”
But overall Reid says, “I’m honoured to be back again. You know, voters don’t have to cast their ballots for m,e and so I’m honoured when they do.”
Reid is proud of his riding and grateful for the tone of the debate by citizens and especially by other candidates during the campaign, “Politics is sometimes confrontational and negative and so on, and I always feel that we (LFK) are kind of the eye in the middle of the hurricane.”
He explains that in LFK and other rural areas he has seen that, “during elections people are polite and friendly and courteous, over and over again, people don’t get personal in talking to candidates. And, oh my goodness, what a difference it makes.”
“When I look at it and I compare it to that very unpleasant tenor of elections in both [other parts of] Canada and the United States, I’m so grateful that I live in a rural small town area for a number of reasons. One is the fact that I get to run against people who, I think, are really good people and really sincere representatives of what they believe to be best for the community. Thank goodness for that.”