Andrew Foulds (right) and wife Christine at Thursday's NDP nomination in Thunder Bay-Superior North.
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Andrew Foulds says the race for Thunder Bay-Superior North begins on Friday.
He took his first major step in that direction on Thursday night, capturing the NDP nomination to take on long-time Liberal cabinet minister Michael Gravelle, who heads the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines at Queen’s Park.
The 40-year-old Foulds defeated newcomer Lise Vaugeois to win the nomination. Results of the ballot, as per party custom, were not made public.
“It’s hard to put into words how happy I am. This is something that I wanted and so I’m very humbled and honoured that the membership thought I was worthy enough to represent them in the next election,” Foulds said.
Just how soon that election will come is anybody’s guess.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath kicked off Thursday’s nomination meeting, saying she doesn’t want a campaign but will force one if the governing Liberals don’t listen at budget time.
Foulds said he’s ready and raring to go if that’s the case. Gut instinct tells him it’s going to be sooner, rather than later.
“The Liberals are having $1,000-a-plate fundraising dinners, so they’re clearly getting ready for an election,” said Foulds, who lists energy and jobs, as well as health care and education, at the top of his priority list.
“I’m glad that we’ve had our nomination meeting now, because we’ll be ready too. And whenever that election campaign comes, you can be sure in Thunder Bay-Superior North the NDP will be ready to fight that election.”
Vaugeios said she was happy to have taken part in the process and pledged to support her rival going forward.
“I’m very pleased for Andrew and will be supporting him in the upcoming election, whenever it’s called,” said Vaugeois, who wants to make sure the grassroots voice isn’t lost when the campaign ultimately gets under way.
Foulds took aim at the Liberals, who have held the seat since Gravelle was first elected in 1995.
“It’s going to take a lot of work, make no mistake, but I’m up for the task,” said Foulds, the son of former MPP Jim Foulds, who served the NDP from 1971 to 1987.
“I’m ready for it, I’m ready to meet the people. I’m ready to earn their support. It’s going to take a lot, but I think people recognized the last nine years of mismanagement. I think they recognize e-health, I think they recognize eco fees, the gas plants. And I think they recognize with them closing the Thunder Bay generating station, our economic future with mining is in jeopardy.”
Foulds, a father-of-three, added the voting public wants change.
Horwath, who will tour the city’s new emergency medical service headquarters on Friday, said she’s convinced the party is ready to resume the riding’s reins.
“We’ve come close many times before in this riding and I think there is a real sense that people are tired of a Liberal government that just has not delivered for them, that’s been more interested in their own political backsides, their own political well-being, than they have been the well-being of every day Ontarians, particularly those in the Northwest. I think we have a good chance of winning this riding,” Horwath said.
Her priorities include a youth employment program, a five-day homecare guarantee and lower insurance rates.
“If the budget has things in it that we think will get results for people, then we’ll be able to support it. If it doesn’t have those things in it, then we can’t support that budget,” Horwath said.
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