Garneau brings leadership bid to Neepawa


By: Ken Waddell

As the Liberal Party of Canada leadership race reaches for new heights, one candidate might have a bit of an advantage. Former Canadian astronaut Marc Garneau is running and he came to Neepawa on Jan. 11 to promote his bid.

“It’s good to be among Liberals”, said Garneau as he addressed a group of about 15 people at Neepawa’s Viscount Cultural Centre. He was joined a bit later by a group of about 45 Grade 6 students from Neepawa’s HMK School. The students peppered Garneau with questions about his space adventures and it was obvious they had done their homework. One student even knew down to the minute how long Garneau had spent in space on his three missions.

Starting out in the Canadian navy, Garneau switched to the aerospace program when NASA invited Canadians to be on board. “The Canadian made Canad-arm was one reason we were asked,” said Garneau.

Garneau was raised in a military family with a WWII veteran father and a WWI vet grandfather. He talked at length about his values and how he didn’t like the direction the country is going under Prime Minister Steven Harper’s leadership. “I think I’m the best man for the job.” The job he is trying to get is leader of the third place Liberal party.

"I think the Liberals are a better alternative than either, Harper or (NDP leader) Thomas Mulcair," he continued. "I’m putting my track record out there but we as Liberals can’t live in the past. We believe in balanced budgets and putting forward socially progressive programs.” Garneau spoke at length about past Canadian peacekeeping efforts and how he feels Canada is drifting away from that role by being involved in military action.

On science and the environment, Garneau said, “I believe policy should be based on science, not ideology. This government (Harper) believes in ideology. I’ve been around the earth 400 times and I know we share the same atmosphere as everyone else. Canada is a big producer of greenhouse gases and that needs to change,” as he referred to our dependence on petroleum resources. “One resource we need to develop is our knowledge resources and that is needed for a diverse economy.”

People who are members of the Liberal Party of Canada can vote in the leadership race as well as people who simply sign up as associates. More information can be obtained at

In photo: Liberal Party of Canada leadership candidate Marc Garneau with Neepawa Rotary Club president Wayne Hildebrand. Garneau stopped in Neepawa on Jan. 11.

Photo by Val Wilson