By AMARACHI AMADIKE, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Following visits to more than 50 ridings across Ontario and the annual Ontario Liberal Party meeting in Hamilton this March, Beaches-East York Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith officially announced his plans to launch a bid for the Ontario Liberal Party leadership on Monday, May 8.
To officially begin his campaign for the party’s provincial leadership, Erskine-Smith will be hosting a kickoff rally on Tuesday, May 9, at Variety Village (3701 Danforth Ave.) in southwest Scarborough beginning at 6 p.m.
This announcement makes Erskine-Smith the first of all potentially interested candidates to officially launch a bid for the position of new leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.
A Liberal MP first elected to the riding of Beaches-East York in the 2015 federal election, Erskine-Smith said he is attempting to rejuvenate the provincial Liberal Party which only has eight MPPs at present and does not have official party status at Queen’s Park.
His campaign will focus on topics such as climate change, affordability, health care and mental health support.
“Two million people don’t have a family doctor. Mental health and addictions are underserved. Seniors deserve better care. Quality public education is an absolute afterthought,” said Erskine-Smith in a news release announcing his intent to run for the leadership.
“The cost of housing is driving young people out of our province. And the biggest province in our country doesn’t have a credible climate plan, even though a good plan means jobs. Income insecurity and wealth inequality are never mentioned. We deserve competence and compassion in meeting these challenges. A strong economic agenda and fiscal discipline alongside a sense of fairness for those in need. Delivered with honesty and integrity. We need serious leadership, for a change,” he said.
Erskine-Smith said in the release that his campaign will be a positive one, making politics about ideas, inspiring young people to participate, and showing the difference that politics can make in people’s lives.
“I’m running for leader of the Ontario Liberal Party — to make a difference, to help you see politics the way I see it, and to rebuild a party ready to rebuild our province,” he said.
The Ontario Liberal Party’s registration deadline date for leadership candidates is Sept. 5. The party is expected to hold votes for their new leader between Nov. 25 and Nov. 26 with the winner announced on Dec. 2. The party will use a ranked ballot system to determine its new leader.
Amarachi Amadike’s reporting for Beach Metro News is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.