Catherine McKenna has three big jobs. She is Canada’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, leading the country’s charge to tackle issues affecting the planet’s sustainability. She’s the Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, helping her constituents with various matters which impact their daily lives. And, last but not least, she and her husband are parents to three busy kids.
Long before being elected to political office, Catherine was energetically engaged in changing Ottawa for the better. As a community volunteer, she sat on the boards of various non profit organizations and associations, and continues to champion a creative, inclusive, green and forward-thinking Ottawa. For her commitment to public service, Catherine McKenna is one of #150GreatPeople. in Ottawa. Here, she answers the questionnaire:
What makes Ottawa special to you?
Ottawa is a big city with a small town feel that makes it such a welcoming place. I am so fortunate to represent Ottawa Centre, which has such a vibrant mix of neighbourhoods like Hintonburg or Chinatown – there is no shortage of activity! I also LOVE the diverse geography of Ottawa from the farmlands around Carlington to the canal – this city truly is a playground.
What do you love most about living and working in Ottawa?
The options! From paddling along the river, to taking in the bustling arts scene, or a family outing in a park, this city allows you to build a great sense of balance in your life. My family is so important to me, so the fact that we can get out in Ottawa and connect over a meal or in nature is hugely valuable to me.
The work that you do helps to make Ottawa a better place – why is this important to you?
Ottawa Centre is home. I care deeply about my home and want it to be a welcoming place.
You give back to the Ottawa community in various ways – is there one Ottawa-related achievement of which you are most proud?
I am most proud of the hard work our team puts into working with the residents of Ottawa Centre to help them solve their issues. Since we opened the office in 2015 we have been able to help hundreds of people navigate federal services including immigration, taxation, and governmental benefits including pension plans and old age security. This is the work that doesn’t get politicized or talked about much, but it is the day-to-day work with our constituents that makes me proud. Not to mention – we saw 133 organizations in Ottawa Centre receive $1.4 million to hire students in the community, and as a government we were able to secure $1.9 billion to support the construction of light rail.
What do you hope for Ottawa in the future?
I want Ottawa to be the coolest, greenest, capital! Ottawa has so much going for it, but we can’t rest easy. We need to push ourselves as a city to be different, be unique, and most of all be creative! With the natural assets of the national capital region we offer a wonderful place to raise a family, pursue a career and build a home. If we keep pushing ourselves to do better, there is no doubt that the future is bright for Ottawa.