Grimshaw: a different perspective

Conservative candidate Lou Grimshaw.
Conservative candidate Lou Grimshaw.

Conservative candidate Lou Grimshaw thinks he brings a different perspective to the issues raised in this election campaign, thanks in large part to the 40 years he spent as a professional officer in the Canadian Army.

“What I bring to the table is a considerable amount of experience in a number of areas,” he said. “The military [teaches] all kinds of skills in terms of organizing and planning and analysis. I’ve lived in various provinces in this country and abroad, so I bring a sort of perspective of that kind of thing.”

Grimshaw said that service also pushed him towards the Conservative party after he retired from the regular armed forces in 1996.

“I served a great deal of time under Liberal governments, and I felt I wanted to make a change, so I became involved in the local [Conservative] riding association ... about 10 years ago,” he said. “I wouldn’t vote for the Liberals if they were the only party running.”

Grimshaw said he feels his party is ready to step up and take the reins from a Liberal party that has “no new ideas.”

“I hope [students] vote Conservative—we have better ideas, we have a leader young enough to be Paul Martin’s son, and we have a whole lot of really dynamic, first-class people,” he said.

“We’ve got a balanced bunch of policies, and we are ready to form a government.”

A married father of four adult children—all of whom graduated from either Queen’s, RMC or St. Lawrence College—and grandfather of three, Grimshaw said he is keenly aware of the financial burden laid upon students seeking post-secondary education.

“I’ve been the Bank of Dad for a long time, so I’m well aware of the importance of this, and the difficulty of it,” he said. “Somehow we must get our arms around the cost of it.

“Personally I believe that, pound for pound, education might be more important than health care, because it’s an investment in the future. I think education hasn’t had the attention it should have.”

If elected, Grimshaw said in addition to helping to relieve the crisis in funding for post-secondary education, he would focus on resolving the “outstanding contract issues with the corrections officers” and bringing developmental projects—such as highways and buildings—to Kingston.

“This is really, really an interesting riding to represent, because so many distant things [like the military action in Afghanistan] come home to roost here,” Grimshaw said.

Rather than centring around one issue, Grimshaw said he felt the campaign process has raised a wide variety of concerns.

“There is no one overarching thing that this election is sort of a referendum on,” he said, “and that’s what makes this more interesting. ... The people here aren’t stupid, they know what the Liberal record is.

“[The Liberals] are doing quite a good job shooting themselves in the foot—they don’t need any help from me. But I believe people are fed up, I’m fed up, and that’s why I’m here.”

Nearing the end of this extra-long campaign period—which has included more than seven debates for the candidates in this riding—Grimshaw said he still believes in the democratic process, and that he himself has learned a great deal from his participation.

“Maybe I’m naïve, but I’m a firm believer in the democratic process,” he said. “I think every vote matters, and just participating in the process is valuable. I get a lot out of the candidate meetings—no one has a monopoly on good ideas, and we have some really interesting discussions. This interchange of views and opinions and experience is really valuable.”

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