Riding prepares for the Ontario election

MORRISBURG – Voters in South Dundas expecting to go to the polls in June to vote in the 2018 provincial election have only two names to pick from so far when they cast their ballot. Presently only two parties have nominated candidates with less than three months until the election.

Incumbent MPP Jim McDonell will carry the Progressive Conservative banner – he was nominated in 2017. Sabile Trimm has put her name forward as the candidate for the Libertarian Party of Ontario. Lancaster-based farmer Shawn McRae was the Libertarian candidate in 2014.

At press time, the Liberal Party of Ontario and the New Democrats both have no candidates, and have not had active riding associations.

The Liberals list Usman Alam as the contact for the Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry riding. However there was no response to inquiries by The Leader. A source within the party indicated that the riding association was defunct.

After several weeks of calling the Liberals’ headquarters in Toronto, the eastern region vice-president of the Ontario Liberal Party, Roger Martin, told The Leader the riding association group has not been active since after the 2014 election.

“We are actively looking for a candidate for the party in SDSG,” Martin said.

In 2014, John Earle ran for the provincial Liberals. Earle died in 2015 from a heart attack while scuba diving near Cornwall. Former South Dundas municipal councillor Delbert Jones contested the Liberal nomination against Earle in 2014.

Asked if the Liberals would appoint an out of riding candidate, Martin replied, “We would love to have someone local from the riding as the candidate.”

No candidates for the Liberals have come forward as of press time, and no nomination meetings have been called.

The Liberals are not the only party without a candidate in the riding. The local NDP riding association is in the process of being re-established. Marc Benoit is the new association president for the NDP.

“Our candidate search committee was formed in early Fall of 2017, and we’ve approached a number of prospective candidates; labour leaders, local office holders, and party organizers,” Benoit told The Leader. “We’re in the final stages and we expect to have an official date for our nomination meeting in the coming weeks.”

Former NDP candidate and current Cornwall city councillor Elaine MacDonald will not be running this time around.

“No I will not be seeking the nomination this year,” MacDonald said.

Also looking for a candidate in SDSG is the Green Party of Ontario.

“We’re looking, and it will be an appointment by the party,” said Becky Smit – Green Party executive director. “We plan on fielding candidates in all 122 ridings this election.”

In 2014, Sharron Norman, an appointed candidate, carried the banner for that party.

The government passed the Election Statute Law Amendment Act in 2005, requiring elections to be held every four years.

The act was amended in 2016 to move the election from October to June.

Under the act, voters will cast their ballots June 7th.