By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario – At the local federal Liberal riding association barbecue, Del Jones, association president, discussed the party’s plans for the 2015 election and Justin Trudeau’s stance on legalizing marijuana.
© Adam Brazeau
SDSG Federal Liberal’s Family BBQ & Corn Roast event held at the Lost Villages. Pictured (from left) Tom Manley, vice-president election readiness, Bernadette Clement, past-candidate 2011 federal election and Del Jones, Liberal riding association president.
“The expectation is that we will win the riding back and certainly our objective is to win it back in 2015,” said Jones.
Bernadette Clement, Liberal past-candidate in the 2011 federal election, fell behind MP Guy Lauzon in the polls. Lauzon has been the South Dundas-South Glengarry federal representative for the last nine years. He beat out mayor Bob Kilger in 2004. Before that Ed Lumley and Kilger held the position as Liberals for 10 and 16-year stints.
The SDSG provincial riding was formerly a Liberal provincial stronghold as well, until the 2011 election when MPP Jim McDonnell, a Progressive Conservative party member, bested it.
The next federal election is scheduled for Oct., 2015.
The local Liberals plan on hosting more activities this year, as well as their traditional fundraisers. Although their annual strawberry social has been canceled.
Since the fall of former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, the party has been piecing its identity back together. With the addition of new party leader Justin Trudeau there has been a shift in momentum.
“Lots of people are recognizing that there’s been a generation shift at the national leadership,” said Jones. “Justin Trudeau appeals to people my age who grew up and accepted the Liberal party with his father. Many people may be supportive because of his name, but many young people are becoming enthusiastic about politics again.”
As red shirts pinned with a button of Trudeau’s face circled around the barbecue and corn roast event, his new pot platform announcement was up in air.
“Justin announced his support for legalizing marijuana,” said Jones. “This whole war on marijuana hasn’t worked, there’s another way to do it and that’s ultimately to decriminalize it and potentially legalize it.”
Jones said the government has spent a tremendous amount of resources and funds incarcerating people for pretty minor issues.
“I think he’s simply recognizing the facts and that’s what the Liberal party is about, not ideology, what does the evidence and research say? And that’s what he’s reacting to-- the research,” said Jones.
Clement, was a moderator at the recent Liberal leadership race debates, and she saw the experience as refreshing for the party.
“The leadership race was good for the party so we could focus on new ideas,” said Clement.
Clement said after Ignatieff the Liberals had to figure out what went wrong and push forward with a lot of hard work.
“We have to engage more by asking opinions on local issues that are important,” said Clement.
She said there’s a new and real positive vibe because of the party’s new leader.
“He’s young, full of charisma and vitality and he’s not shy,” said Clement.