First SDSG federal Liberal hopeful announced: Patricia Pichette

First SDSG federal Liberal hopeful announced: Patricia Pichette
Patricia Pichette is the first SDSG federal Liberal hopeful candidate for the upcoming 2015 election.

By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario – A local business owner from Ingleside wants a shot at ending MP Guy Lauzon’s long-standing hold on the riding of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.

But before Patricia Pichette can enter the political arena, she will have to get the approval of the SDSG federal Liberal riding association.

Jamie Labonté, the association’s president, introduced his party’s first candidate hopeful in front of a few dozen supporters at the Knights of Columbus club on Sunday, Dec. 14.

“Running isn’t an easy decision,” said Pichette.

“Bernadette (Clement) just said the same thing to me. She thanked me for stepping up. We’ve worked together in the public for a long time now. And she’s aware of the fact that my commitment to SD&G is 100 per cent. This is a beautiful area – it deserves representation.”

The glare of flickering cameras forced her to quickly regroup as she joked that it was her first time being under the watchful eye of media.

“I’m so happy to go to this event today and events throughout the week with Liberals, and with past Conservatives who are considering the Liberal party because they see that our values are more in line with their current ones,” she added. “People see that change needs to happen and that we are the ones who need to bring that about.”

Pichette, 35, graduated from business in 2000 and became a goldsmith in 2003. She is married to James Allanson.

Her jewelry store Fused Elements formerly had a Pitt Street location but Pichette decided to move it online instead.

Cornwall city councillor Bernadette Clement, the 2011 SDSG federal Liberal candidate, is still unsure if she’ll run against Pichette.

A nomination date has not been set, but said a Labonté front-runner will likely be revealed in Feb. 2015.

Pichette says the Liberal party reflects her own personal views of inclusiveness and a transparent government that is accountable.

She added that Federal Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau “helped her gain the courage to step forward for SD&G.” But her desire to be a Grit came before he took over at the helm.

Pichette is currently in the green-lighting process as she waits for confirmation from the association. Labonté confirmed it’s more of a formality and she’s the first of four or five hopefuls who are interested or have filed the necessary paperwork.

If Pichette does win the nomination, she’ll face the SDSG incumbent Conservative MP in Oct. 2015. Lauzon took office in June 2004 and received 62 per cent of the vote in the federal election in 2011.

“I think we need to mobilize the Liberals that are in the area that have felt like they don’t have a voice for so long they’ve just sat back and given up,” she said.

More to come.

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