Karina Gould - who is she, what has she done and should she be re-elected?

federal election 2019By Pepper Parr

October 14th, 2019



Burlington’s residents live in one of three federal ridings. Burlington, where Karina Gould is running for re-election, Milton where Lisa Raitt is running for re-election and Oakville North Burlington where Pam Damoff is running for re-election.

Three women represent the residents in Ottawa; Jane McKenna represents the city at Queen’s Park and Marianne Meed Ward is Mayor of the city.

Gould is the Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lisa Raitt is the Deputy leader of the opposition and Pam Damoff is the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health.

Women have clearly taken the reins at the political level.

The Gazette will use its limited resources to do in depth interviews with as many candidates as possible. We expect that the followers of those we are not able to do one-on-one interviews with will see this as unfair. Life is unfair.

I met with Karina Gould and was joined by our political columnist Ray Rivers.

Wallace and Gould

Mike Wallace, the former MP for Burlington congratulating Karina Gould on her taking the seat.

Her win in the 2015 election was a surprise to many, especially Mike Wallace could not believe he was beaten by a woman who had not lived as long as he had been in office.

Karina Gould, a life long resident of Burlington, a graduate of M M Robinson high school and McGill University has had her eye on public office even as a teenager.

Winning wasn’t a surprise to her. While Burlington is defined as a conservative city politically, Gould found that she got a different view at the door steps where she was seen as young, personable, and likeable. People took to her and began to trust her and soon found that she delivered.

Gould in the Legion kitchen

Federal funding helped the Legion upgrade their kitchen – Gould there getting all the details.

She has a reputation for reaching out to groups of people who may not have much in the way of profile; the interest she shows is genuine.

Does she walk on water? No but people in Ottawa soon realized that Karina Gould was there to make a difference – in Caucus she asked questions and began the process of making connections and creating the network that every politician needs if they are to grow in the profession and if they are going to make changes.

Gould was made the Parliamentary assistant to the Minister of International Development and traveled the world where he core belief in the rights of women were shaken. The opportunities for woman in Canada and the lack of real opportunities in most of the third world countries stiffened the resolve Gould brings to just about everything she does.

Her appointment as the Minister of Democratic Institutions was a surprise to many; the way she handled the job from day one was also a surprise.

Changing the way politicians are elected in Canada has been a challenge – but Justin Trudeau made it a signature issue and Gould was put into a job that had not been done all that well by her predecessor.

Gould - first scrum

Gould’s first news scrum outside the doors to the House of Commons – she performed well.

During the first week on that job as the Minister of Democratic Institutions she had to stand before a lectern outside the doors of the Commons and tell the country that the government was not going to be able to deliver on the promise.

This isn’t the place to delve into just where the failure was (we cover that in a future piece) what was clear was the Gould had been thrown under the bus by the Prime Minister – and when the bus passed by Gould was able to stand up and get on with what was left of the job.

That was an impressive political feat – her ability to handle difficult situations was recognized.

Assuming Gould is returned to office and the Liberals form a government look for her to be in a bigger portfolio.


Federal funding made the transformation of the Brant museum possible.

We asked Gould what she had done for Burlington. She was able to trot out all the relevant numbers: the big junk of change for the transformation of the Joseph Brant Museum. Improvements in the gas tax money that comes to the city; major dollars for infrastructure improvements which worked its way into improving creeks from the ravaging dame that was done during the 2014 flood.

Those are all big ticket items and they are part of the job – cutting a ribbon and handing out cheques. Where one gets a look at the real Karina Gould is when you see her at community events mixing and mingling with people – never taking herself too seriously.

One Burlington Canada-Burlington1-2017

Gould has brought tens of millions of dollars to Burlington – the couple of thousand she made sure got to the Burlington One event is the one of which she is most proud.

A small amount given to the Burlington One event that brought together people from diverse cultural and religious communities. The Burlington One event came about just after the murder of a number of Muslim citizens at a mosque in Quebec city. It is events like this that make a community, indeed a country and a world work.

Gould will tell you about the funds that went to St. Luke’s Anglican church to upgrade the kitchen which they now rent out to other groups. The Legion got funds for their kitchen as well.

East Plains Road United Church got $40 million to put in an elevator that basically keep that church alive and bale to accommodate better child care operations.

Gould In the House while Obama speaks

A moment Gould will never forget – when US President Barack Obama spoke to the House of Commons.

Handing out cheques and cutting ribbons is part of the job – you do them.  There are though those occasions when the event is almost  bigger than life.  when President Barack Obama spoke to the House of Commons Gould asked a colleague to take her picture and to be sure that the President was evident in the background.  That was a big day for her.

Gould points to the power she has as a Minister to “convene” groups of people to talk about common issues. She listens, carefully and admits that on more than one occasion she has changed her mind on an issue after hearing from the people in the community

Every politician has a pet project – for Gould it is the Cootes Escarpment that is already xxx a xxx. The government gave the Royal Botanical Gardens $6 million to do corrective work on the wet lands.

She knows she wants to do something to even further protect what she calls “one of the most valuable environmental resources we have.” Look for something to come out of her office at some point – this is an issue for her.

Gould can talk about climate change as well as any politician but she will tell you that at the door it is not the #1 issue – health and provincial government cuts take the two top spots – followed by climate change.

Gould realizes the federal government has a lot of work to do in bringing the public around and getting them to buy into the need to make changes now if this planet is to be saved.

As we worked our way through the interview we found that it wasn’t possible to get Gould to comment on the other candidates. “I’d rather you talked to them” she said.

Gould and PM Trudeau

Cabinet solidarity is sacrosanct for Gould. Not even a hint of a negative word.

Gould is a party politician – she believes what the Liberal Party is doing and is proud to be a part of it. While she doesn’t talk about it – she has differences with government policy and they are voiced in caucus where, if you know the woman, she is listened to – closely. But when a Cabinet decision is made – she stands behind it.

Many, particularly women, felt that she should have been more closely aligned with the female Cabinet Ministers Jody Wilson Raybould and Jane Philpott. Gould will tell you that caucus stood behind the Prime Minister even though there are many who raise an eyebrow over the SNC Lavalin matter – Gould stood behind the party line – “it was important to save those 9,000 job and not make ordinary people suffer due to the crimes of senior management, who she pointed out are either on trial or in jail.” Well some of them are on trial and some did get sent to jail. The issue for many Canadians is the core culture of the company is much the same.

Will there ever be an issue where Gould will take a principled position and leave Cabinet. Yes, this is still a principled woman and she has voted against a government motion. Power does have the capacity to corrupt – Gould points out that being in Cabinet is pressure – “We are there to deal with that pressure and do the best we can for as many people as we can.”

Gould has difficulty with decisions that are based on “ideology” and not evidence based and has trouble to this day with many of the decisions that were made by the Harper governments.

Gould describes herself as a “go getter”, the kind of woman who “speaks up” and when faced with an open door she will “naturally walk through it”

She relies on those she has known for a long time, including high school and university teachers for comment; she sees herself as humble.

Her win in 2014 was a surprise – but not to her. The 2019 results are not the kind of thing anyone can call. While Gould will not comment on the people running against her – the field is not exactly filled with evident leaders.

The challenge for Gould, and it is one she can’t do much about, is the way the country decides whether or not the Prime Minister should be re-elected. If the country decides that mistakes were made but lessons have been learned and he should be returned Karina Gould is one of the people who will get him back into the Prime Minister’s office.

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17 comments to Karina Gould – who is she, what has she done and should she be re-elected?

  • Rob Allan

    I’ve been a Conservative all my life but can’t support our low-profile representatives – the quiet and four times bankrupt Jane Michael or lame duck Jane McKenna, both of which don’t have what it takes to get Burlington’s voice to be heard. While Justin Trudeau is way out of his depth, Karina Gould has already proved she deserves our vote.

    • Phillip Wooster

      Here’s the problem with your analysis. Under the Liberals, Trudeau is the one calling the shots and Gould’s record of doing what she is told by the Trudeau-Butts leadership is well documented. All power has been centralized in the PMO’s office and when you state that “Trudeau is way out of his depth”, what is the inevitable result of your vote?

    • Bob

      Rob – public record, the personal bankruptcy was North of $600k, the restaurants are cloaked, financial hardship to unsecured creditors. For a trustee, chair as advertised in her promo, with a board budget to administer and how can this make any sense.

      • Phillip Wooster

        Bob, I’m not making excuses for this bankruptcy, none of us know the details. However, I have worked in the produce industry and one thing I know is that restaurants are a high risk business, frequently not succeeding. Jane won’t be the first to declare bankruptcy, nor the last in this volatile business.

  • Roger

    Karina promised to represent Burlington to Ottawa – she failed on this – to defend a multi billion dollar pipeline purchase / SNC Lavalin / – I did not elect a cabinet minister – her local office did its fair share of roadblocking from people in the riding – yes she is from Burlington but seemed disconnected from how her riding was changing – my faith in her was misplaced hoping for an independent voice

  • Barb Hannah

    She has done a good job and is a very genuine person.

    On a technical note re: this article – why did no one proofread or edit this before it was posted???

  • Peter

    I am reluctant to vote Liberal this election. Sunny Ways are long gone. The Liberals promised a new way of politics, but the new boss is the same as the old boss: opposition research gotcha tactics; hypocritical standards that retains candidates who have shown misogynistic behaviour; cynical and self-serving attacks on other levels of government; ginned up fear-mongering on social issues that have long been settled.

    I used to think Ms. Gould was a breath of fresh air, but in the past year, she’s been little more than a loyal messenger for the PMO. Her full-throated support of their handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair is especially disappointing. Their lack of respect for judicial independence from political interference (saving jobs is not a permitted reason); their characterization of Canada’s first indigenous AG as “difficult”; the shutting down of the justice and ethics committee investigations; their rejection of the Ethic Commissioner’s finding that Trudeau had used his power to “circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit” the public prosecutor are all shameful actions that are a disservice to our democracy.

    I don’t see Ms Gould as an independent voice who is able to rise above the discreditable conduct. The increasingly centralized power of the PMO means she has to go along to get along.

  • Chris

    Can’t vote for her, sorry. She lost her shine when she supported her boss. The people who are voting Liberal obviously have no morals. Vote for anyone else. Justin Trudeau is an embarrassment to Canada. Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott have my respect for leaving the Party. Karina doesn’t deserve your vote. If she is standing up for what she believes in by staying with the Liberals, this tells you she only cares about the pay check.

  • Phillip Wooster

    I voted for Karina Gould in 2015 but I have voted against her in this year’s election. Neither she nor her party, nor her leader have earned my vote–you can’t seperate Karina Gould from the record of her government. Did she represent Burlington when she voted to keep Tori Stafford’s killer in a healing lodge? Did she represent Burlington when she voted in caucus to expel Jane Philpott and JWR from the Liberal Party–these two outstanding cabinet ministers–highly educated professionals chose integrity over politics while Karina Gould chose politics over integrity. When you examine her record, she is a total Trudeau sycophant and attached at the hip to the Prime Minister. And what of his record? Broken election promises, fiscal incompetence, two ethics violations and a cover-up in the Lavalin and Norman Scandals–a total betrayal of his promise in 2015 to “do politics differently, to run an open and transparent government”. Dan McTeague, former Liberal MP, IN 2015 described Trudeau as “an unserious mind, given to selfies, socks, and sobbing who surrounds himself with YES men and YES women. I think we can see why Gould fit in so well.

  • Bob

    Agreed, and I’m a card carrying Conservative and will be voting Red. I want a Minister fighting and standing up for Burlington and not some seat warmer sitting in the rafters collecting a fat cheque. Party politics be dammed and no, I can’t hold my nose on this round.

  • Carol Victor

    Most deserved person in terms of being re-elected, a fine human being as well as a most capable politician. I am proud to be able to say that she is my MP; so many have been helped by her individually as well as collectively. She goes high when others go low.

    • Mary Jenkins

      Carol, were you proud when she voted to allow a child rapist and murderer to stay unchallenged at a “healing lodge” as opposed to serving her time in jail? Where you proud when she voted to kick Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpotts out for being honest and exposing Trudeau? You must be so proud!

  • Fred Crockett

    Great representative for Burlington, and should be returned many times!

    • Carol Victor

      Chris you talk about morals…have a close look at the Conservative …she will never represent me.

      • Chris

        Make your case Carol. Facts only please. I have my long list ready, pictures available too. Lol
        Maybe Karina can dress up in a Culture Appropriating Costume for you. The real liberals left the party with their pride._