GODERICH (Jan. 12, 2019) –It is time for a change in Huron-Bruce, federal Liberal candidate Allan Thompson told Liberal supporters at his nomination meeting in Goderich.
“I am moved, humbled and excited that you’ve placed your confidence in me to be the Liberal Party of Canada candidate here in Huron-Bruce,” Thompson told close to 150 supporters who filled the Columbus Centre in Goderich for the upbeat nomination meeting.
“It will be a privilege and an honour for me to carry the banner of hope and hard work into the next election campaign,” said Allan Thompson, who was the party’s candidate in 2015 and placed a close second, nearly tripling the Liberal vote by comparison with the 2011 election.
“This time I’m even more confident, more determined, that we will work even harder and that we will win in 2019.”
Thompson said the people who joined his first campaign in 2015 were brought together by a common belief in a “caring and compassionate community.”
Thompson said a priority would be watching out for those in need.
“We are deeply concerned about healthcare, especially for our seniors and for those in our rural communities who find themselves vulnerable,” Thompson continued.
“We care that the person who makes our coffee at Tim Hortons is going to be able to retire with dignity.”
“We need to care more and focus more on those who are in need. Rural seniors, our young people. We need a member of Parliament who is willing to talk about these awkward issues that a lot of people don’t really want to talk about – mental health, youth suicide, violence against women. We need a Member of Parliament who will engage with everyone.”
“We have to be true to ourselves and we have to do this neighbour to neighbour,” Thompson concluded.
And Thompson also took aim at his opponent, the incumbent MP.
“I’ve said over and over again Huron-Bruce needs a stronger voice in Ottawa. But you can only be heard in Ottawa if you are listening in Huron-Bruce,” Thompson said.
“I made my career as a journalist. I listened to people for a living. I want to tell the story, our story of Huron-Bruce, to those who wield power in Ottawa.”
Thompson stressed that he is committed to the positive politics of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, but also planned to “square the circle” by finding a way to be “positive and constructive but also be blunt and honest and fair” about political opponents.
“I will not engage in personal attacks, but I think it is fair comment from everything that you can see and hear to say that Huron-Bruce needs a better MP,” Thompson said.
“Huron-Bruce needs change. We campaigned on this in 2015 in many aspects, but we can still march under that slogan. Huron-Bruce needs change, and that change is in our grasp. We can win this election. I think a lot of people are watching from elsewhere in the country to see what happens in a rural riding like this one. “
“We need a Member of Parliament whose priority is not just his political career,” Thompson continued. “There is more to being a Member of Parliament – much, much more - than just keeping your job. We need a Member of Parliament who does not take this riding for granted. The Conservative party and our Member of Parliament take this riding and its voters for granted.
“I take nothing for granted and I will work my hardest,” Thompson said.
The chair of the meeting was Gary Martin, Rural Representative on the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario) executive, a position created in response to the ProjectRURAL task force that Thompson chaired after the 2015 election.
“It took us a lot of hard work to get to this point,” Martin said. “I want to acknowledge the hard work that this riding association has put in since the last election to continue the conversation.”
Duncan Jewell of Goderich, the chair of the Huron-Bruce Federal Liberal Association, told the crowd about the campaign team’s election readiness plan.
“Your Huron-Bruce riding board has worked very hard to arrive at this place today,’’ Jewell said.
Thompson was formally introduced by four prominent local Liberals, led off by long-time MPP Jack Riddell, of Exeter.
“I think we are extremely fortunate to have a person of Allan’s character and integrity to run for us in the next election,’’ Riddell said. “I’ve been in politics quite a while and I know what it takes. And of all my observations about Allan and getting to know him, he’s got what it takes.’’
Kimberley Payne, of Goderich, said Thompson has worked “tirelessly” since the last election.
“I’m really proud to be celebrating Allan Thompson as he tackles the hard work of winning the next election in Huron-Bruce,” Payne said.
“He has worked tirelessly since the last election to invest himself right here in our local community,” Payne said. “He has hosted roundtables, he’s attended dozens if not hundreds of community meetings, all in an effort to listen to our concerns.”
“Allan has demonstrated that he stands for the values of the Trudeau government, but he also stands true for the needs of his constituents, us, in Huron-Bruce.”
Mary Ellen Ross, of Kincardine, said that anyone who has been to a church supper, community or service club event, theatrical performance, Santa Claus parade or fall fair has seen Thompson. “If you belong to social media, you can’t miss Allan,’’ Ross said. “Allan is a family man, he’s also a professor, a journalist, an author, a communications director, a writer, a reader, a traveller. Born in the north of our riding, now residing in the south.”
Sean Mitchell of Walton, who is the youth chair of the Huron-Bruce federal Liberals, said he met Thompson during the 2014 nomination contest and also at a debate at the Clinton high school during the 2015 campaign.
“Allan has a solid record of supporting youth and I have experienced this first hand,’’ Mitchell said. “Our job is to get Allan elected this fall. Please join me in ensuring that this happens.”
Thompson entered the hall to the strains of the Proclaimers tune “I’m Gonna Be,” which includes the lyric: “I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more.”
“I am especially proud to be part of Team Trudeau,” Thompson declared. “I am proud and thrilled to campaign on the record of our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.”
Thompson said the Canada Child Benefit is one of the most important innovations since the old age pension and has brought 300,000 children out of poverty across the country.
“Here in Huron-Bruce, in the last year, 9,000 families have received the Canada Child Benefit, an average benefit of $7,000 which has resulted in 17,560 children being lifted out of poverty.”
He spoke of the government’s move to enhance the Canada Pension Plan, to re-open Veterans Affairs centres across the country and to put a price on pollution.
“I have no reservation in standing up and saying that all of the evidence, all of the science dictates that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and our government has risen to that challenge and our opponents are still thinking about it.”
He also pointed to the successful negotiation of an updated NAFTA agreement as a major milestone.
“Given the volatility south of the border – that is a nice word for it – I think it is nothing short of a miracle that our government, led at the negotiating table by the amazing Chrystia Freeland, managed to negotiate under the worst possible conditions a renewal of NAFTA.”
And the government move to keep its controversial and visionary promise to legalize cannabis will make sure that the supplies of the recreational drug are safe, that we stop criminalizing our young people, and as a bonus, create hundreds and hundreds of jobs in the booming sector right here in Huron-Bruce.
Thompson returned to the theme that the MP for a vast rural riding like Huron-Bruce needs to be more accountable and transparent about how voters are being represented.
“I think people in Huron-Bruce have the right to ask their Member of Parliament, what did you do for me today? Where are you?
“If you’re seeking re-election, what are your plans, what are your ambitions, what are the big projects that you want to promote?
“Politics in this riding has to be all about Huron-Bruce. What are we doing for the people of Huron-Bruce. Where are our plans, what are the dreams we want to accomplish?”
Thompson said the cornerstone of his campaign would be rural economic development and a drive to create opportunity in Huron-Bruce, by helping farmers get their products to market and by focusing on some of the riding’s other strengths, in tourism and the arts and culture for example.
On Sunday, the day after his nomination, Thompson was out knocking on doors in the village of Walton.
Thompson, 55, was the federal Liberal candidate in Huron-Bruce in the 2015 election that brought the Justin Trudeau Liberal government to power. During that campaign, he raised Liberal support in Huron-Bruce by more than 23 percentage points and with more than 23,000 votes, placed a close second to the incumbent.
In August, Thompson launched his bid to once again be the Liberal candidate in Huron-Bruce from the front porch of his home in Goderich.
Born and raised on a farm just outside the village of Glammis in southern Bruce County, he went to school at Bruce Township Central Public and Walkerton District Secondary School and began his journalism career as a reporter with the Kincardine Independent and Teeswater News.
A former political reporter for the Toronto Star newspaper, Thompson has been on a sabbatical from his position as a journalism professor at Ottawa’s Carleton University and last spring bought a home and took up residence in Goderich. He recently launched Market Street Strategies, a strategic communications firm based in Goderich.
Allan Thompson – firstname.lastname@example.org/ 613-799-1791