Ron McKinnon has represented the riding of Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam since 2015.
After four years in Ottawa, he's looking for his first shot at re-election.
Who is Ron McKinnon?
Originally from Alberta; lives in Port Coquitlam
Worked as a meteorologist technician in the ’70s, as well as a data analyst and entrepreneur in recent years
Served as MP in the Trudeau government on the standing committee on justice and human rights and was a key voice in having the standing committee on health study why championed his motion before the Standing Committee on Health to study why the LGBTQ2 community — which makes up an estimated 13% of the Canadian population — has such poor health. This is his first time seeking re-election.
Ron McKinnon In Profile
Ron McKinnon admits he was surprised to win the MP’s seat four years go.
He rode in on Justin Trudeau’s “red wave” — a crushing defeat of the Conservatives, which held power in Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam — but with the previous performance by Stephen Harper and the redistribution of the former Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam riding, the Liberals could feel a change was coming for the area, he said.
After his victory party, the work began quickly, with McKinnon transitioning from computer systems analyst to politician and employer; he had to find staff for his new constituency office and in Ottawa. And success came swiftly.
His private member’s bill — C-224, the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, designed to grant immunity for drug possession if a person calls 911 while someone is experiencing a drug overdose — came before the House of Commons a few months later. It was adopted on May 4, 2017, with all parties backing the bill.
Since then, McKinnon said he’s heard many stories from Canadians of how that legislation has saved lives. “Their son or daughter is alive because somebody made the call,” he said. “That was the whole point… to remove barriers for calling for help.”
A father of two, the Alberta native said he’s pleased with the work he and his staff have accomplished this past term, helping groups and constituents.
Locally, his government delivered on the $12.5 million earmarked by the Conservatives to rebuild the PoCo recreation complex; there was also the $5 million for the Chance to Choose program to help Tri-City youth find jobs; $3 million for PoCo pumping station upgrades; $1.1 million for the Electrical Joint Training Committee in PoCo to recruit women to the trades; and $500,000 for the Town Centre performance plaza in Coquitlam.
But the travel back and forth between his hometown of PoCo and Ottawa can be a grind, he said. Rather than hop on a plane twice week to make the 4,500-km commute, he prefers to stay in the nation’s capital for two weeks to carry out his caucus duties.
Those include being a member of the standing committee on justice and human rights, a group under the spotlight this year when former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould and others gave testimony on the SNC-Lavalin affair. In the end, the Liberal MPs on the committee used their majority to end their study, a move blasted by Opposition MPs. McKinnon said he’s satisfied with the result.
And despite reports Trudeau had expelled Wilson-Raybould and fellow MP Jane Philpott from the Liberal caucus in the aftermath of the controversy, McKinnon stressed Wilson-Raybould “left cabinet voluntarily. So did Ms. Philpott. Neither of them was kicked out of cabinet. They remained as Liberal members for five or six weeks but it was very clear they didn’t support the leader,” he said. “They wanted to be Liberal still but if they can’t support the leader, it’s pretty hard going into an election for them to be candidates.”
McKinnon added, “I think there were certainly some personality conflicts there. I am 100% confident that there was no wrongdoing by the prime minister or anybody on his staff. He had one meeting with [Jody]. He asked about jobs. She asked if he was directing her and he said no, and that was his only meeting with her.
“I think any self-respecting member of Parliament would inquire about jobs if you have a major employer in your riding or in your region,” McKinnon said. “If there is a legitimate alternative to whatever prosecutorial options are available, they will save jobs. I think that’s a valid question to ask anybody. And that’s what he did.”
Asked if the SNC-Lavalin affair — or the ethics commissioner in August declaring Trudeau had contravened the Conflict of Interest Act for improperly pressuring Wilson-Raybould — are brought up on the doorstep, McKinnon said he hears it “once in a while. It’s not really a big issue here.”
Climate change, affordability, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and the future for kids are top of mind for his constituents, he said.
As for his future, he’s not thinking about what happens if he loses the Oct. 21 vote.
“I’m focused on the election. I’m not in this for the pension.”
Ron McKinnon in 3 minutes
Learn more about McKinnon
- McKinnon confident with Trudeau leadership
- MP champions study on LQBTQ2 health needs
- Tri-City candidates seek politician, group endorsements
- Tri-Cities a battleground in federal election, say experts
Explore the Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam contenders:
Dan Iova, Veterans Coalition
Ronald Spornicu, People’s Party