Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Packet Article: Kennedy and Dion Camps Unite in Local Liberal Contest

This article was originally published in the Orillia Packet and Times September 22, 2006 - SK.

The Grit front runner Michael Ignatieff seems too slick for local Liberals, as many are coming out in support for Gerard Kennedy and Stephane Dion. .

With 14 local delegate spaces up for grabs in Simcoe-North, supporters of Federal Liberal Leadership candidates Gerard Kennedy and Stephane Dion are working together to win at the Simcoe-North Federal Liberal Delegate selection being held this October 1st in Coldwater.

Saying front runner Micheal Ignatieff is “Too slick and not representing the grassroots,” Simcoe-North Liberal Executive Member Alicia Smith has thrown her support behind Quebecer Stephane Dion. “Electing Ignatieff with be missing an opportunity for the party to rejuvenate.”

Another Leadership frontrunner, former Ontario Premier Bob Rae, while respected, is not believed to be electable by local grits.

“As far as I know, all the potential Dion delegates would choose Kennedy as their second choice and vice versa,” said previous Federal Liberal Candidate and declared Dion supporter Karen Graham. She says that both Dion and Kennedy have organized camps are working to support their respective candidates within Simcoe North.

“The Kennedy camp and the Dion camp are working hand in hand in Simcoe-North,” confirmed Liberal Activist and Queen’s Park Political Staffer Gerry Hawes, who has declared his support for Gerard Kennedy.

Under convention rules, all prospective delegates had to submit their official request to become a delegate by this September 15. At the same time they had to declare which candidate they would support on the first ballot at the convention.

“The majority of Simcoe North’s prospective delegates are declaring for Kennedy”, said Riding President Daniel Williams who has also declared his support for Kennedy. He noted that that the big push from now until October 1st will be for the individual camps to pull their respective votes and elect delegates for their candidates as possible from the 14 possible positions.

Eligible Simcoe-North Liberal Party members must vote in person to choose the 14 delegates. The delegate election is being held on Sunday October 1st from 11 AM to 4 PM at the Coldwater Hall at in Coldwater. The Simcoe-North Federal Liberal Riding Association has some 700 members who are eligible to vote.

Simcoe North Federal Liberal Party Members will see their support reflected proportionally in the delegates selected.

Local liberals expect that the leadership campaign will be a hot topic of discussion this Friday, September 22 at the Midland Community Centre where the riding association is gathering for “A Tribute to Paul DeVillers.” Cocktails will be served at 6PM and Dinner at 7:30 PM. Tickets are available from Ralph Cipolla.

Stewart Kiff, Special Correspondent to the Packet and Times, is a native Orillian and former staff reporter for the Packet and Times. He currently is a government relations specialist at Queen’s Park and is the President of Solstice Public Affairs. He will be traveling to the Montreal convention to report on the Federal Liberal convention from an Orillian perspective. Stewart can be reached at