Sarnia-Lambton MP plans to make federal funding pitch to support the development of a heavy haul corridor

When Marilyn Gladu was asked to be science critic, the new Sarnia-Lambton Conservative MP said she told her leader Rona Ambrose two high-profile party policies would need to change: the voluntary census and the muzzling of scientists.

“We should really be saying that scientists are free to talk about their work, but they don’t speak for the government on issues of policy,” the professional engineer told Seaway Kiwanis Club members at their lunch-hour meeting Tuesday. “That’s really where the line is.”

Gladu offered insight to the service club Tuesday about some of the changes she’s trying to make in the House of Commons. She also spoke to service members at length about the economic development opportunities she sees on the horizon for the community.

Gladu will be meeting with Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjett Sohi next Thursday to discuss funding for the proposed heavy load corridor.

The $12-million project would create a path through the city for manufacturers to more easily transport their industrial modules to docks along the St. Clair River for shipping.

The corridor would put “3,000 manufacturing folks to work,” she noted, later clarifying that number represents workers currently employed at local industrial fabrication businesses.

But Gladu said there’s additional business opportunities in the U.S. market for local companies if a heavy haul corridor is in place.

“The upper U.S. is a huge area of opportunity for us because the dollar advantage is at 30 per cent already, and with the marcellus shale gas, there’s a big demand there, so this is a hot thing for us to get on and we need to do it.”

Gladu is also currently soliciting community ideas for her first private member’s bill. She was recently picked through a lottery system as one of 50 members of parliament who will be eligible to bring forward a bill this year.

One of the suggestions she’s received so far is legislation to make organ donation the default option for Canadians when they die unless they opt out of it.

“There’s such a shortage of organs for transplant that it’s costing lives and this would save hundreds of thousands of lives in Canada just by doing that fundamental thing,” she said.

She has also heard about the need for a suicide prevention bill.

But Gladu told the service club she is still open to ideas – and the federal Conservative party is very much too, she added, as they rebuild after their election night defeat.

When asked Tuesday if the party’s stance on climate change has been one of the policies modified, Gladu said the party is still considering “what we’re going to say on climate change,” but there’s no “disagreement that there is change.”

“We’re concerned when we see the Liberal government give $2.5 billion to other countries for climate change initiatives for developing nations of which China and India are on that list,” she said, noting those two countries are economically competitive with Canada, but they haven’t been reducing their carbon footprints.

She said a better solution may be to capitalize on Canada’s carbon emission reduction technologies.

“If we brought those to bear on the people that are the largest components of the problem, I think we’d do more than reduce our whole country’s footprint. We’d have a bigger impact for the buck.”

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