Liberal leadership hopeful Murray shares ideas

NANAIMO – Joyce Murray, running for leadership of the federal Liberal party, talked to party members Thursday at Mon Petit Choux café.

City of Nanaimo Coun. George Anderson talks with federal Liberal leadership candidate Joyce Murray on Thursday afternoon at Mon Petit Choux café.

City of Nanaimo Coun. George Anderson talks with federal Liberal leadership candidate Joyce Murray on Thursday afternoon at Mon Petit Choux café.

Touring the mid Island as part of her leadership campaign, Joyce Murray, notably, didn’t come out swinging.

“[My] hallmark is not, am I going to be able to punch someone out in the boxing ring of politics, but am I going to be able to bring people together and work co-operatively in the direction that we need?” she asked.

Murray, the Vancouver Quadra MP running for leadership of the federal Liberal party, talked to party members Thursday at Mon Petit Choux café.

She outlined her policies, trying to differentiate herself from other candidates including Justin Trudeau.

“There’s no question there is a popular frontrunner in this race who has a lot of Facebook friends and has been campaigning for a lot longer than I have,” she said. “But to me, an obstacle is not a reason not to make an attempt.”

Murray is presenting herself as an environmentalist – she stressed her past support of former party leader Stéphane Dion and talked about a clean energy economy.

Funds that are currently subsidizing oil and gas exploration and bitumen export, she said, should be redistributed as savings on home heating bills, for example.

She favours legalizing marijuana, a policy that hasn’t been unanimously embraced by the party, she said.

“By regulating and taxing cannabis, we take the monopoly on cannabis out of the hands of the gangs, and the profits and the control out of the hands of the gangs, and we put it where it belongs, in government,” she said.

Murray also wants electoral reform, suggesting ways to co-operate with the NDP and Green Party. In the 10-15 per cent of ridings where the Conservatives “squeak through,” she said, there could be a sort of primary process before an election campaign.

“If the riding is interested, we would have a runoff between the nominated candidates of the progressive parties,” she said. “It would be an up-front process and up front we would talke about co-operating in a coalition afterwards, if necessary.”

The Liberal Party of Canada will determine a new leader in mid-April.

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