Pledging to continue being the voice of the people, PN candidate Karl Gouder says the PN has learnt from its mistakes and will continue to defend people’s needs
Which part of the political life appeals to you?
The best part of politics is the interaction with people, probably more than that is meeting people in their own homes. It’s surprising that when you meet people in their own homes people are so honest and open, you learn so much and you appreciate how different Maltese society is. You learn how people live, and you also learn that many people suffer quietly, it’s probably what keeps me going on in politics.
How would you describe your return to parliament?
Dramatically different, first of all it was a different venue all together, I was used to parliament and the Palace, whereas the new parliament is totally different in every sense, I was used to being on government benches, and now it was opposition, I had also just got used to being a mayor and therefore had to relearn the role of an MP which is very different to that of a mayor… anyway it was a totally different return.
If elected, what do you personally hope to change?
I always offered to work in politics because I believed all in all politics is a clean environment where one can work to improve society. Today unfortunately especially because of what has been happening in the past months or so, many people are affirming their belief that politics is dirty and that all politicians are corrupt, together with my colleagues I would like to change this and prove to all that politics isn’t dirty and that not all politicians are corrupt, on the other hand most politicians are not corrupt.
Do you believe that you’ve made a difference in people’s lives? How?
Yes, in various ways, on a local level, I have done small things that would have made a difference to people’s lives, such as improving infrastructure in my locality and such, however on a larger scale it’s when you bring the ideas of the people who live around you and take them up to party and parliament level, where you can influence party policy and also national policy in parliament. Most of the ideas I expressed in my speeches are ideas that I get from the people around me.
Which, in your opinion, was the government’s best decision and worst mistake since the 2013 general election?
Probably the best decision in my opinion is the way it opened the doors to civil rights, its worst is the fact that it allowed rampant corruption in its very highest echelons, corruption that not only led to having to call a very early election, however that could also have drastic negative effects on our economy.
Which, in your opinion, was the opposition’s best decision and worst mistake since the 2013 general election?
The PN passed through many changes over the past four years, from a shattered party after losing the last general elections. Under the leadership of Simon Busuttil the PN made itself an electable party once again in such a short while, probably this is because of Simon Busuttil’s vision of good governance and that of bringing the party closer to the people. Busuttil put good governance at the forefront of his agenda way before these scandals started to appear and that therefore gave him and the party great credibility when scandals started to erupt. I think our mistake was abstaining in the vote for civil unions, however we’ve learnt a lot from that and come a long way since then.
Based on your door-to-door encounters, what are the top three concerns of families?
Beyond any doubt, there isn’t one house visit that doesn’t mention corruption, people are genuinely angry and worried about what is happening in the country right now, so that would certainly be number 1, another worry, maybe related, are the effects that this corruption could have on the economy. Unfortunately I would say that the country’s economic performance in the near future is something that is worrying people, while number 3 in my opinion would be transport/ traffic and anything related to that.
A possible framework for the recreational use of cannabis has been suggested by both political parties: in your opinion, how can Malta’s drug policy be reformed?
I must admit that I don’t really understand about this topic, however I do look forward to an intelligent debate about this. I expect anyone who understands about this, all experts from various fields to come out and give politicians their informed opinion about this so that then the politicians can take the right decisions and by right I don’t mean the popular decisions but decisions that would be of benefit to the individual and society.
Many of the PN MPs admit that the Opposition’s worst decision was that of abstaining on the Civil Unions bill: do you believe that the PN will not halt progress made in civil rights?
Of course the PN will not halt progress, the PN has changed a lot, during the past four years especially. We have learnt a lot from that vote, all you need to do is look at the variety of candidates contesting the election under the PN ticket.
The creation of FOIPN over the past years has helped the party look at things differently. I have no doubt that progress will keep on being made under the PN, not only do I not have any doubts, but we are committed to ensure that everyone should freely live the life he/she was born to live without any interference from government or politicians.
Four years ago, the PN pledged to become a people’s party once again: do you think the party has succeeded in doing this?
Four years ago no one would have thought that the PN would have a fighting chance during the next elections, now here we are just three weeks away from elections and the election results are far from a foregone conclusion as many would have thought a few months ago. There are various reasons for that, however I strongly believe that one of the main reasons is the fact that the PN has once again become a people’s party. The PN is a people’s party, it’s true that we have created a gap in the years until 2013, however we are not the party of the people, we are creating policy based on what the people are telling us, we are proposing our different proposals based on what the people are telling us. Our commitment now is to make sure that we will remain close to the people even when in government to ensure that we do work to facilitate the people to reach their aspirations.
Karl Gouder is contesting the ninth and tenth districts for the Nationalist Party