Carleton profile: Liberal candidate Chris Rodgers
Public servant Chris Rodgers is running for the Liberals in the new riding of Carleton.
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Ask Chris Rodgers about his greatest strength as a candidate and he doesn’t hesitate: his diversity of experience.
The Liberal candidate in Carleton has spent nearly a decade in the public service in three different departments. Before that, he worked in small business and taught community college. He plays in a band and volunteers at his church.
Now, he’s trying to unseat a high-profile Conservative, pledging to bring back civility to the public discourse, something he says is sorely lacking.
“We’ve just seen the level of political discourse be dragged down into the gutter in the last 10 years,” he said. “I think we can do better.”
Rodgers, currently on leave from his job as a policy analyst at Public Safety Canada, got involved in the local riding association and party members soon pegged him as candidate material.
“Some long-time volunteers came to me after one of our outreach events which I had organized and said ‘Chris, we think you should be the one throwing your hat in the ring,’” he said.
His wife, who teaches at a high school in the riding, had already been urging him to run, he said. They live in Kars and have a young son.
Now, he’s opposing Pierre Poilievre, a Conservative minister known as one of the more partisan figures on the Hill in the last decade.
Rodgers’s strategy, he said, is to focus on the party’s policy proposals in areas such as child care and taxation.
“When you’ve got good ideas and you go to the door and you can connect with people, I don’t have to talk about my opponent,” he said. “I talk about our ideas.”
As a public servant, he said he brings a familiarity with decision-making and policy issues in various areas.
“Public servants don’t want more than to be treated fairly and to be respected as professionals,” he said. And he said he thinks there’s a growing disconnect between the government and the electorate.
“People have a sense that this government is more and more isolated from ordinary Canadians, and that the government is not listening.”