With the Liberal nomination meeting scheduled for tonight, Sudburians will soon have a full state of candidates to choose from ahead of the June 12 provincial election.
Liberals will gather at the Caruso Club at 6:30 p.m. to select a successor to longtime MPP Rick Bartolucci. The race is between two political newcomers – businessman Andrew Olivier and engineer Elise Idnani. A winner should be announced by late tonight.
The date of the nomination meeting was moved up a week because of the quick election call. Whoever wins will be facing Sudbury NDP candidate Joe Cimino, whose unpaid leave of absence from his teaching job and his duties as councillor for Ward 1 began Wednesday, the official start of the campaign.
Cimino opened his Minnow Lake campaign office on Wednesday with a meet-and-greet. In a news release Thursday, Cimino praised a job-creation plan unveiled by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. The $500-million, two-year plan would pay employers up to $5,000 per new worker and $100,000 per company.
“Our jobs plan is simple,” Cimino said in the release. “Create a new job, get a tax credit. It’s a plan that will get people a local job and will help our local economy.”
Progressive Conservative candidate Paula Peroni opened her office this week, as well, at the corner of Brady and Paris streets in downtown Sudbury. The longtime Catholic school board trustee said as MPP, she would bring local concerns to the Ontario Legislature.
“I would carry the message from Sudburians to Queen's Park,” Peroni said. “For too long, it's been going the other way. We've been dictated to and told how to solve our challenges here in Sudbury by folks in Toronto that don't understand the way of the North. That needs to change.”
Peroni knows history isn't on her side. The riding has been Liberal for 19 years, but was held by the NDP from 1990-1995, when Sharon Murdock joined Shelly Martel (Sudbury East) and Floyd Laughren (Nickel Belt) at Queen's Park in the government of former Premier Bob Rae. The last time it was held by a Conservative was when Jim Gordon held the seat from 1981-1987.