By: Deb Robert
The federal Liberals have chosen their candidate for York-Simcoe. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux will represent Team Trudeau in the October general election.
“I’ve been a Liberal all my life,” says Ms. Wesley-Esquimaux who ran against Conservative Peter Van Loan in 2011 but failed to secure the seat. Eight years later, she’s again running a campaign under the Liberal banner. “I have similar kinds of values as the party itself, to help those people who need help. I’m a firm believer that we have an obligation to each other.”
A member of the Chippewa of Georgina Island First Nation, Ms. Wesley-Esquimaux is Lakehead University’s Chair of Truth and Reconciliation. She has taken leave from her position while campaigning. She also serves as special representative to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett, helping to develop Indigenous child welfare Bill C-92. “I work with young people and have a very strong interest in what happens to children.”
Ms. Wesley-Esquimaux is also focused on regional issues including the proposed Upper York Sewage Solution that is “causing consternation” in how it may affect Lake Simcoe, as well as a strong economy that works for all residents. “People need to step forward and pay attention to what is going on in government.”
She emphasizes her election platform includes all residents of York-Simcoe. “People here are trying to have a good life. I’m not doing this solely and wholly because I’m Indigenous. The entire riding and the entire country deserve strong leadership. The Liberal Party provides a voice for that.”
To establish a Liberal riding association and fill volunteer roles, she’s putting out a call to supporters via her Facebook page. “I was just confirmed on Monday. It won’t be an easy task. I’m trying to rally the troops and build up a campaign from scratch that’s strong enough to turn a blue riding red.”