There’s a Sudbury voice at the head of the Ontario Liberal Party table, with former Sudbury candidate David Farrow elected vice-president (organization) earlier this month.
“It's been some time since we've had a northern person or a rural person on the executive council at the provincial level,” he told Sudbury.com this week, adding that “bringing voice to rural and Northern Ontario” was part of what he campaigned on in the 2022 election, when he ran for the Liberals in the Sudbury constituency.
“If we're ever gonna get back to majority government status, we need to represent all regions of Ontario.”
In his role, Farrow will co-ordinate with nine regional vice-presidents who cover specific areas of Ontario. This includes Thunder Bay’s Kristen Oliver, who serves as regional vice president for Northern Ontario.
“Fortunately, we've actually done some of the hard work in Sudbury to get our riding association back up into a viable organization,” he said. “But there are places in Northern Ontario right now that have very inactive provincial riding associations.”
With the next provincial election slated to take place in 2026, Farrow said their goal is to get all riding associations up to snuff with ample lead time.
Although Sudbury found itself in good shape by the time last year’s election rolled around, Farrow said it “suffered from quite a bit of non-activity in the four years between elections,” which he said tends to plague constituencies across the province.
As a member of the provincial executive, Farrow said he will be on “team neutral,” working in the background to help get riding associations ready as early as possible by finding a volunteer base and key stakeholders. His goal is to develop unique plans for each riding so they don’t burn valuable time closer to the election, by lining things up to be dealt with early.
In July 2022, legislator John Fraser was selected as the Ontario Liberals’ interim leader, and earlier this month, Liberals decided on a one-member-one-vote system to select a permanent leader.
This is something Farrow said he has been advocating for because it allows every member an equal voice and saves people travel costs by sparing them having to travel to delegated conventions, which is particularly relevant in Northern Ontario.
Every riding association in the province will get 100 points to be voted on directly by members.
“I think it's a reasonable expectation that if you sign up to be a member of a political party, you should actually be able to vote for your leader,” Farrow said.
Sudbury.com last reported on Farrow in January, when it was noted that both Farrow and his associated Ontario Liberal Party - Sudbury riding association’s financials weren’t filed on time.
Their election finances were filed on Feb. 17, revealing that Farrow’s campaign expenses totalled $64,675, while the party’s Sudbury riding association spent $37,840. Farrow’s account ended the election season $13,223 in the financial black, while the riding association ended things $15,845 in the red.
“There were a lot of bottlenecks ... and we learned a lot personally, too, about what we needed to do,” Farrow said of the late filing. “There are no outstanding issues at all.”
Sudbury Ontario Party candidate Jason Laface and the riding association he ran under have yet to file their finances. They are the only financial files from the 2022 election yet to be filed in the Sudbury and Nickel Belt constituencies.
In January, Sudbury.com asked Laface about his projected timeline for submitting. He said, “None of your business.”
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.