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Some Belleville councillors expect challenges for Bay of Quinte’s new MP

By Shira Rubinoff [1]

BELLEVILLE — “Challenge” is the word being used among some Belleville city councillors who used to work with the new Bay of Quinte MP and former councillor, Ryan Williams. 

“As a member of the opposition party, it’s gonna be probably a tougher challenge for both he and our MP in the Hastings-Lennox and Addington, Shelby Kramp-Neuman. But I think between the two of them, they’ll be able to advance our issues forward,” said Councillor Bill Sandison.

Sandison has held a position on council since 2018, running in the same election as Williams. 

Sandison describes Williams as a “very bright, energetic and enthusiastic guy.” 

Ryan Williams (left) was elected as MP for the Bay of Quinte on Sept. 20. Photo courtesy of Ryan Williams on Twitter

Williams will sit on the opposition benches in the House of Commons. That’s a change from the past six years when MP Neil Ellis was a member of the government caucus. Kramp-Neuman from the neighbouring riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington will also be sitting on the opposition benches. 

According to Coun. Garnet Thompson, there will be challenges ahead, but he is hopeful that Williams’ time as a councillor will help him convey municipal issues to parliament.

“You know, we’ve still got a Liberal Prime Minister and now we’ve got a Conservative candidate, so it will be a little more of a challenge to have that communication from Conservatives to a Liberal caucus and hopefully we can get the funds that we are always looking for because Mr. Williams sat as a councillor for a short period of time so he knows the struggles that the municipalities go through. So hopefully we can still get some of that momentum but it certainly will be a little more of a challenge being a Conservative riding in a Liberal parliament.”

Thompson said he went to the campaign gatherings of both top candidates on election night, and was not surprised by the outcome of the polls.

“The public has decided that it’s time for a Conservative riding here and certainly Mr. Williams will be a great representative in the House of Commons,” Thompson said.

Ellis posted on Twitter Tuesday afternoon with well wishes for Williams. 

Coun. Paul Carr said Williams “is going to do a great job. He’s keen and I know he’s committed. (…) At council he got to work right away and he’s going to do the same in Ottawa.”

Belleville Mayor Mitch Panciuk spoke to QNet News reporter Rhythm Rathi Wednesday afternoon about working with both Williams and Kramp-Neuman in the coming months.

“I’m really happy that they both have had municipal experience; both of them served on municipal council so they know exactly the challenges that our cities have,” he said.