Jonathon Liedtke – ourWindsor.ca – July 9, 2013
With five provincial by-elections scheduled for August 1 to replace former Ontario Liberal seats – including both former Premier McGuinty and Minister of Finance Dwight Duncan’s seats – the summer campaign season is upon us.
Local NDP candidate Percy Hatfield officially opened his Windsor-Tecumseh campaign office on Sunday afternoon to the public and had a slew of politicians, former politicians and friends alike flanking him in support.
Windsor West MP Brian Masse, Essex MPP Taras Natyshak, Wayne Lessard, former NDP MPP for Windsor-Riverside, Cheryl Hardcastle, Deputy Mayor of Tecumseh, Windsor city councillor Ron Jones and Joe Bachetti, Ward 3 Councillor for Tecumseh all attended the office opening in support of Hatfield.
“It’s going really well,” said Hatfield in an exclusive interview with OurWindsor.ca regarding his campaign. “People are appreciative of the fact that I’m on their doorstep, but also that I’m an NDP candidate. I’ve been hearing from so many people that they [had] never voted NDP before but they will now because they have somebody that they respect, know [and] has proven results on city council.”
Hatfield noted in the interview that “nobody in this part of the country wants the PCs” to come into power because they embody a “full blown attack on labour unions” and “they want to get rid of the unions and make this a right-to-work province.”
In regards to the date of the upcoming by-elections, Hatfield referred to the August 1st date as an “election by stealth” and expressed that the Liberals sought to capitalize on a low voter turnout.
“They did it on the Thursday before a long weekend in August [and] there’s never been a summer election in Ontario,” said Hatfield. “It’s almost as if they tried to pull a fast one, they put democracy aside … it’s unfortunate but you have to work within those boundaries.”
According to Hatfield, the Liberals are “now the party of the past [and] the NDP is the party of the future,” he said. “We’ll prove that in this by-election as they did in Kitchener-Waterloo last year.”
If Hatfield wins the upcoming by-election, Windsor city council loses one councillor which creates a very real possibility of triggering a municipal by-election (the other options are to appoint a temporary councillor until the next election or leave the seat vacant).
Councilor Jones explained that Hatfield is hard working and would be missed.
“Percy is such a real hard working member of city council, certainly coming well prepared to every meeting, he will be missed [and] he will be extremely hard to replace,” said Jones who added that his exit will provide an opportunity to fill that spot a qualified person. It’s a transition [and] I’m just excited that Percy is going to be in Toronto.”
“His beliefs are very strong NDP beliefs, about the environment, jobs and people. Percy is a people person and he’s a New Democrat,” he said. “I know Percy will be successful.”
Hatfield noted that the best way to send the government a message of disapproval is to cast a vote for an opposition candidate at the ballot box.
“I want [a] voice to come back to Windsor-Tecumseh,” lamented Hatfield. “We haven’t had a voice since the middle of February. This was an NDP riding for 30 years before Dwight Duncan and I want to remind people about that.”
Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.