THUNDER BAY - Marcus Powlowski will carry the Liberal Party of Canada banner in the Thunder Bay-Rainy River riding in this fall's federal election.
The final vote was held in Thunder Bay on Monday following two votes in Fort Frances and Atikokan over the weekend where a total of 225 ballots were cast by party members.
Powlowski admitted he was a little surprised when he learned he was voted as the candidate in the riding.
“It’s been a real whirlwind,” he said. “As of about two or three months ago I didn’t even really consider going into politics at all. Then I got the green light meaning I could run 10 days ago, so it’s been about a 10 day campaign and suddenly I seemed to become a politician.”
Four candidates were vying for the nomination, including Christy Radbourne, David Bruno, and Shelby Ch’ng.
Thunder Bay-Rainy River Riding Association chair, Murray Munro, said this has not been the first time the riding has seen this many candidates come forward to seek the nomination, adding it was a strong list of names to chose from.
“We had four phenomenal candidates,” Munro said. “I was impressed with each and every one of them. So was my executive. For (Powlowski), he was able to really organize quite well and that was what led to his success.”
Going forward into the upcoming federal election, Powlowski said he is preparing for a fight with the Conservative Party and the right wing.
“The big competition in the upcoming election is obviously the Conservatives,” he said. “This is a world with increasing political polarization. I don’t want to wake up as being the next domino in this great global movement to the right. This movement toward closing borders, movement toward hyper nationalism, movement toward abandoning ideals of free trade.”
“I think there is a great thirst for the middle road for a reasonable approach to politics rather than the extremism that has plagued politics for a long time.”
Powlowski will be running against Linda Rydholm of the Conservative Party, Yuk Sem Won of the New Democratic Party, and Andrew Hartnell of the People's Party of Canada. The Green Party has not yet named a candidate in the riding.
“We have some catching up to do,” Munro said. “They were looking strongly at our candidates because of the name we were showing and they were very impressed with them. We did have a couple of other individuals possibly in the background who eventually declined to run.”
Thunder Bay mayor and former MPP, Bill Mauro, announced earlier this month that he would not be seeking the nomination.
Current MP, Don Rusnak, who was elected to the seat in 2015, announced he would not be seeking re-election in order to spend more time with his family.
Powlowski has a master’s of public health law from Harvard and an advanced law degree from Georgetown.
Munro said Powlowski brings a lot of diversity to the candidacy and believes he will hear what the people of riding have to say and follow through with a strong message of support.
“This is a very, very educated gentlemen who is absolutely well spoken, he has high credentials, but he is extremely well grounded. I think people will find that when they meet him at the door,” he said.
The federal election will be held on October 21.