Paul Summerville

Liberal Party of Canada

Age: 54

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Occupation: University of Victoria adjunct professor at the Peter Gustavson School of Business; economist

Community involvement: Evans Scholarship supporter, president of the Sir Winston Churchill Society

University of Victoria adjunct professor Paul Summerville is a former Lehman Brothers investment banker and Royal Bank chief economist who says he was only six years old when the importance of public service and living a consequential life first struck.

The death of his great-uncle, Donald Summerville - the mayor of Toronto for a brief stint before dying in office in 1963 - combined with the assassination of John F. Kennedy two days later left a profound impression.

"I'm trying to take an interesting life and turn it into a consequential life," Summerville said.

Born in Carsholten, England, in 1957, Summerville's parents - Margaret and Paul William - were Vaudevillian entertainers. "My father always told me, 'Son, no matter what you do, be different.'"

When Summerville was just six weeks old, the family moved to Canada, into a lower-middle-class home in Scarborough, Ont.

Emotional, Summerville remembers being about 21 years old and walking into his home at tea time. He found his mother, whom he said never cried, in tears. The family home had just been remortgaged - at 19 per cent interest.

"It scarred me," Summerville said. As a result, he said he's never borrowed money; never had a mortgage. He drives a 2004 Volvo.

"A lot of times in life, you are judged by where you end up, not where you started," Summerville said. "My vision of Canada is that any Canadian child from a family of limited circumstance can expect to have a chance at lifetime of unlimited opportunities."

At 31, Summerville earned a PhD in international relations in 1988 from the University of Tokyo. He has also studied at universities in Toronto, Jerusalem, Edmonton, Geneva and Osaka. "My whole academic background in Canada was with left-of-centre economists."

He entered into global finance and had a 20-year career in investment banking in North America and Asia.

Married to Taeko, a neurosurgeon, the couple have one son, Michael, 24, who is studying at Concordia University.

In 2004, the family settled in Victoria. That summer he toyed with running for the B.C. NDP, and said he had coffee with NDP leader Carole James. He also met with Juan de Fuca NDP MLA John Hor-gan in December 2004.

One month later, federal NDP leader Jack Layton recruited Summerville to the party. In January 2006 he ran unsuccessfully in the Toronto riding of St.

Paul's - a "suicide mission" against a popular incumbent, he said.

Summerville said he started to question what he calls the party's "deep suspicion of wealth" and left in September 2006. "The shoes didn't fit," he said

"I always thought the left had a very powerful description of what's going on in the global economy, with the risk that unbridled capitalism creates unsustainable inequities," Summerville said. "But the problem with the left, which I discovered when I ran for the NDP, is the prescription is thinking more about taxation than innovation ... more about a handout than a hand up, decreasing inequities, rather than increasing equality," he said.

Summerville joined the Liberal Party to support Bob Rae's leadership run - ultimately won by Stéphane Dion.

Soon after NDP MP Denise Savoie stepped down in August for health reasons, Summerville was acclaimed. He made sewage treatment in Victoria his issue.

Summerville wants to stop the CRD's "mad plan" to build a single $783-million secondary sewage treatment plant in Esquimalt because it doesn't make economic or environmental sense, he said.

Critics call Summerville a single-issue candidate. Summerville said his issues range widely from wanting to see a Guaranteed Annual Income and national child-care strategy to the legalization, commercialization, regulation and taxation of marijuana.

The president of the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Vancouver Island, Summerville regularly tweets, blogs, podcasts and speaks on any number of international and local subjects with speed and sometimes brute candour.

"This is the most scientifically stupid government in the history of our governments," he said.

Summerville said he isn't daunted by the 14 per cent share of the vote the Liberals got in Victoria in the last federal election. Byelections can't change governments, but this one could change Victoria by stopping "a bad plan," he said.

Q&A: PAUL SUMMERVILLE

Top three issues:

1) Evidenced-based, fiscally responsible, democratic public policy;

2) Stopping the secondary sewage treatment plant ;

3) Investing in 21st-century transportation technology in Victoria - my vision is a city where people can walk, cycle and take public transit that is safe, efficient and affordable.

Proposed $783-million secondary sewage plant, which has received funding commitments from all three levels of government:

This is a defining issue for our city. This is the largest investment we're going to make in a generation.

We can't afford to waste $780 million on a secondary sewage-treatment plant that is being imposed by the Harper government on a piece of legislation passed in July that fast-tracks Victoria to put in a land-based solution for its sewage ... by 2020. There's been no study done that shows the net environmental benefit to do this. Until 21st-century technology is innovated to provide net environmental benefits from the treatment plant, we must stop this plan.

E&N: We need an integrated transit strategy that includes rail. If we want to be a model medium-size city ... I'm not sure if it's light rail or not, but I'm pretty sure it includes a Johnson Street bridge with a railway line that is a terminus not at the railway line but downtown. Getting off at the railway and taking a bus downtown is nuts. I'm for a Johnson Street bridge that has railway and cycling and walking - but it better have a railway. And that doesn't start at Victoria at 9 a.m., it starts in Nanaimo at 9 a.m.

Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline from the Alberta oilsands to Kitimat:

The Northern Gateway pipeline is nuts environmentally. Enbridge has come through as bullies in this proposal.

You just can't do what the Green Party does, which is to say it's bad and we don't want [pipelines] - you can't run a modern economy that way.

There's a sense that the prime minister is trying to highjack the regulatory process. It's critical to have an open dialogue.

Climate change is the key issue of our time ... I'm in favour of a carbon tax.

Unlike the Greens, the Liberal Party of Canada favours responsible resource extraction. The reality is the Canadian economy has an important part to play to provide jobs and middle-class incomes to thousands of Canadians.

The Liberal Party is the party of the tanker ban and we always frame any business decision or pipeline decision on that basis.

Homelessness: Poverty is expensive and homelessness is hard work.

I'm in favour of a guaranteed annual income that removes the bureaucracy. All that bureaucracy clearly isn't working. Over the last 10 years our poverty outcomes have got worse. What we are doing is not working. I'd propose a guaranteed annual income ... of about $12,000 to $15,000. And the next $10,000 earned would be tax free.

Canada-China Investment Treaty:

We should do everything we can to stop it ... and negotiate a real agreement in an open and transparent way.

Answers are based on interviews with the Times Colonist and have been edited for clarity.

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