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West ready to hold the Tories to account

Returned as Sudbury’s MPP, Jamie West says the NDP has ‘had a lot of practice’ serving as official opposition to the PCs over the past four years
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Winning Sudbury MPP Jamie West, accompanied by his wife Pam and daughter Ella, arriving for their victory celebration at Overtime Bar and Girll on Notre Dame Avenue on June 2, 2022.

New Democrat Jamie West will continue as MPP for the Sudbury Riding after the June 2 general election.

West and the NDP came through with another strong result similar to what he enjoyed in his first election to provincial office in 2018.

That's when West defeated Liberal cabinet minister Glenn Thibeault. West took more than 17,000 votes at the time, which worked out to more than 48 per cent of the popular vote that year.

West arrived at his victory celebration at Overtime Bar and Grill with his wife Pam and their family. The crowd cheered and gave a roar of approval as they came through the front door.

West was all smiles, but a bit later said he knows there will be some frustration when he returns to Queen's Park. 

"Well, over the last four years, we've had to navigate a Conservative majority. It's a frustrating experience. Not because it's a different party's majority, but they allow so little time for debate, and so little time for input from the community and from Ontario," said West. 

He said there are a lot of bills and laws that are suggested, but do not get passed because of the majority government. The frustration comes months and years later when the same issues are re-debated and re-argued.

"But overall, we've had a lot of practice over the last four years. And, you know, it's the role of the opposition to hold them to account. And that's what we'll do is suggest ways to improve those laws and make the move better," West said.

During the campaign, and going door to door, West said the number one issue he heard from voters was the cost of living issue.

"Things are just frankly too expensive for people. They're having a hard time making ends meet and more and more people are going to be going to food banks and that sort of thing. So we have to get that under control locally directly in Sudbury," West said.

Other issues that West said he wants to deal with are the need to re-establish a Francophone university at Laurentian University, along with finding a solution to the worsening opioid overdose crisis.

He added he is also going to push for smaller classrooms in schools, more funding for personal support workers and finding a way to repeal Bill 124, which limits public sector salary increases to one per cent a year, for three years.

The Sudbury riding ballot showed eight names on election day, June 2. They were: Ontario Libertarian Adrien Berthier, Progressive Conservative hopeful Marc Despatie, Liberal candidate David Farrow, Ontario Party candidate Jason LaFace, Independent candidate David J. Popescu, New Blue Party candidate Sheldon Pressey, Green Party candidate David Robinson, and New Democrat West, whose name appeared at the bottom of the Sudbury ballot, but at the end of the night, it topped the polls in Sudbury. Historically the riding has see-sawed between the NDP and the Liberals in recent years. Thibeault was the Liberal MPP from 2015 to 2018. He took the riding in a controversial byelection after New Democrat Joe Cimino resigned in 2014. Thibeault was also a former federal NDP Member of Parliament who quit the team, became an independent and then joined the provincial Liberals to contest the byelection.Before that it was the well-known Rick Bartolucci who held the riding from 1995 to 2014 for the Liberals.NDPer Sharon Murdock held the riding from 1990 to 1995 during the brief tenure of NDP Premier Bob Rae.Liberal Sterling Campbell was the Sudbury MPP briefly from 1987 to 1990. Before him, from 1981 to 1987 former Mayor Jim Gordon was the Sudbury MPP for two terms, one of the rare times Sudbury was represented the Progressive Conservatives