Drayton-based computer consultant Ellen Papenburg will once again represent the New Democrats in a race to serve Perth-Wellington – this time for a seat in the Ontario Legislature.
Papenburg, who finished a distant second to incumbent Gary Schellenberger in last winter’s federal election, was the only person to put their name forward for the Perth-Wellington provincial riding association’s nomination meeting Tuesday, July 19 in Stratford.
“It’s a big step to do this. I can understand why people are reluctant (to put their name forward for nomination),” Papenburg said after the meeting.
She said running federally put a strain on her family business, and credited an employee with keeping things rolling while she attended all-candidates meetings and criss-crossed the largely rural riding. But she added her experience taking on Schellenberger and the other federal candidates gave her inspiration to make sure the New Democrats field a strong candidate in the upcoming provincial election, Oct. 8.
“We did very well,” she commented, recalling the federal campaign.
“I like to think it wasn’t just the ‘Orange Wave’ (which saw the NDP boost its vote count federally, as well as elect several inexperienced candidates across Quebec) that led to our result. It was not in every riding that the NDP came in second, and I hope I had something to do with that.”
Asked about the issues she thinks will be front and centre as the provincial campaign unfolds, Papenburg said the method used by the ruling Liberals to promote renewable energy generation is weighing heavily on people’s minds.
“I’m all for renewable energy, of course, but it has to be in such a way as people are not disadvantaged by it,” she said.
“We have to have community involvement for big things like wind turbines. Because it’s not right that local bylaws don’t apply when the Green Energy Act is involved.”
Other issues of urgency in this riding include job creation and healthcare. And the New Democrats have opposed the harmonized sales tax since it was first mentioned by the Liberals, especially as it applies to things the party sees as essential expenses like home heating fuel and gasoline.
“We are certainly not happy with the HST and (Liberal incumbent in Perth-Wellington, John) Wilkinson, in his previous position as revenue minister, was the one to bring it in and promote it.”
Randy Pettapiece of Listowel is the Conservative candidate for Perth-Wellington in the Oct. 6 provincial election.