FEDERAL SEARCH IS OVER..
Members of the NDP riding association for Parry Sound-Muskoka congratulate their new candidate, Dr. Wendy Wilson: (from left) Marie Rempel, membership secretary; Dr. Wendy Wilson; Bruce Lazerte, chief financial officer; Dianna Allen, president; and Gloria Schimmel vice-president.
Photo by Kim Good
PARRY SOUND-MUSKOKA — It’s official. Dr. Wendy Wilson of Parry Sound is the new federal NDP candidate for the Parry Sound-Muskoka riding. A vote was held at the party’s nomination meeting in Gravenhurst on Sunday and with no other candidates coming forward, the result was unanimous.
“I’m very excited, not just to be your NDP candidate, but I want to be your next member of Parliament and I think that we can do this. I really do,” Wilson confidently told her supporters on Sunday. “The NDP under Jack Layton has been sweeping across northern Ontario.… Everybody’s tired of Stephen Harper’s Ottawa. No one has any faith in Michael Ignatieff, and now’s our time.”
A single mother with a nine-year-old daughter, Wilson is a family physician and is also known for her work with patients with addictions. She is an assistant professor at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and has lived in Parry Sound for 15 years.
Now that she has the candidacy, Wilson said her main priority is to meet the people in her riding, especially outside of Parry Sound and Huntsville, where she’s more known.
“This is a massive riding,” said Wilson. “I really need to make some contacts in Bracebridge and Gravenhurst, in Burk’s Falls, all the way up to the French. So that’s what I want to do: get out there so people get to meet me and hear what they have to say.”
Current Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement has been in office for just over four years and is minister of Industry and minister responsible for FedNor. Over the last two years, he has announced millions in G8 infrastructure funding for the Parry Sound-Muskoka area; however, should an election be called this year, Wilson believes she can triumph.
“He does not have a lot of support within the riding. He has a lot of money from Ottawa,” said Wilson. “I have a lot of grassroots support. My ideas are sound.… If anything, the money spent on the G8 will detract from his image because it’s money that could have been used for other things.”
If a spring election is called, Wilson said she will be ready.
“It’s going to be tough,” she admitted. “I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me. I’ve got a lot of energy and I’m used to working long hours, so more time would be great, but if that’s when the election is, that’s when the election is.”
Dianna Allen, president of the local NDP riding association, said members are glad to have Wilson in place to lead the party in the Parry Sound-Muskoka riding for the next federal election, whenever it is called.
“She is already well known, of course, on the Parry Sound side, and it won’t be long before the rest of the riding hears about her, too,” said Allen. “We are going to be planning various events where she’ll have an opportunity to meet with our membership and also talk to the public at large.”
Next up for the NDP riding association is to nominate a candidate for the provincial election scheduled for this fall. Allen said they have a couple of people considering the role and a couple others they would like to approach. The goal is to have someone in place by early summer.
“We don’t have a search campaign started yet for the provincial candidate. That’s going to be the next challenge for us,” said Allen. “We wanted to make sure that we had Wendy installed and that we get moving on the federal side because that’s obviously imminent; whereas, at least we know a date for the provincial election. There won’t be any surprises there.”