In this first in a series of interviews with engineers who hold federal public office, the Honourable Steven Blaney talks about being an engineer and an elected official.
Over the coming weeks, Engineering Matters will feature a series of interviews with engineers who hold federal public office. Below is the first in the series, a Q&A with the Honourable Steven Blaney, ing.
A member of the Conservative Party of Canada, Blaney represents the Quebec riding of Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis. First elected to Parliament in the 2006 election, he was re-elected in 2008, 2011, 2015, and 2019. Prior to entering politics, Blaney worked as a consultant, entrepreneur, and advisor in the fields of urban infrastructure and environmental technology. He holds a civil engineering degree from the Université de Sherbrooke.
Engineers Canada: What sparked your interest in engineering?
The Honourable Steven Blaney: I have always been fascinated by large engineering works. For me, the Manic 5 - Daniel Johnson dam symbolizes the know-how of Québec's engineers and illustrates our collective ability to carry out large-scale projects...of sustainable development!
EC: What prompted you to work towards and earn your professional engineering license? Would you encourage other engineering graduates to earn their P.Eng.?
SB: What attracts me to engineering is providing pragmatic solutions to technological challenges to improve our quality of life. I encourage young people, especially women, to embrace engineering education and of course to join the profession which leads to everything, even politics!
EC: After a career as an engineer, what motivated you to seek public office?
SB: I chose politics to contribute to society and to be an agent of change. Quite frankly, meeting people is a privilege!
EC: Has your engineering background helped you in your role as a parliamentarian? How?
SB: The rational and pragmatic aspect of our training is invaluable to me in politics, and I believe we would benefit from having more engineers in politics.
EC: What value do engineers and/or an engineering perspective bring to public policy decisions?
SB: Engineers bring common sense to politics and decision-making based on rational factors.
EC: In what ways can we encourage more diversity within the engineering profession?
SB: We can encourage diversity by highlighting success stories like Farah Alibay, a systems engineer and a native of Joliette, Québec, a member of the team that landed the PERSEVERANCE rover on Mars.
EC : What would you say to a young person who is considering whether engineering is the right choice for them?
SB : Choosing engineering means deciding to use a formidable instrument to shape your destiny and open up a world of possibilities.
EC : What would you say to an engineer who is considering running for public office?
SB : That’s a great idea. We really need more engineers in politics!