By Charlotte McParland
BELLEVILLE – The new NDP candidate for Bay of Quinte wasted no time in launching his campaign with an energetic critique of the candidates for the other parties in this riding Monday night at Loyalist College.
“Often those guys [Liberal Neil Ellis and Conservative Jodie Jenkins] play a tag-team game of Twiddle-Dee and Twiddle-Dum, and you know, what’s the difference between one and the other? There’s a difference between us and them.”
Cassidy, who has 20 years of local community service, took 50 per cent of the vote during a nomination meeting at Alumni Hall.
He will now compete against Liberal Neil Ellis, and Conservative candidate Jodie Jenkins in October’s federal election.
Cassidy served the community as a city councilor in Quinte West, as well as running for mayor, and as executive director of Community Partners for Success, a non-profit organization in the area.
Now that all three major parties have a candidate, Cassidy plans to immediately start campaigning to catch up to the other two.
“Our top priority in this riding association is to get our organization solid and on the ground,” said Cassidy. “It’s attending as many functions, as many doors knocked, getting as many signs, doing as many things that we can manage to afford to do, to make sure that people know that there is a real choice. That’s the key thing, that there’s a real choice.”
Cassidy beat out fellow candidates Jeremy T. Davis and John McEwen to win a majority of votes to lead the New Democrats into the federal election, expected for October 19, 2015.
With close to 100 attendees, Cassidy, McEwen, and Davis each gave speeches, followed by a question and answer session.
Cassidy was not overly confident about the results of the nomination meeting.
“To be honest with you, I thought it would have gone to two ballots, and then it would have worked its way through there,” said Cassidy.
With his arm around his wife, Cassidy laid out what he felt was a clear future for the New Democrats.
“Why don’t we have a government that gives you a reason to have hope, and a chance to get some real jobs , and a real life out there, that’s what the NDP wants to see it happen. It starts with winning this riding right here.”
Cassidy said his party’s platform will be easily understood by local voters because federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair’s message is clear.
The New Democrat candidates addressed a series of issues during the question and answer, including their thoughts on Bill C-51— the new Conservative Anti-Terrorism Act — transportation in the rural areas, and the Senate scandal. The NDP is calling for the abolition of the Senate.
“Mulcair can stand up straight forward, very clearly, and say it’s[Bill C-51] terrible and we’re not supporting it. Black and white…get rid of it.”
Cassidy said the Liberals need to get off the fence on their policies and that the region needs a change from the longstanding style of the Conservatives.
“If you want to see a new riding that’s going to really have some brightness to it, orange is a really good colour,” said Cassidy.
He said a simple change is needed for the NDP to take over in the Bay of Quinte riding.
“If you want something better, make something better,” he continued. “You get out and you vote, and you vote for a change. And that’s what we’re going to represent. Positive, healthy, change,” said Cassidy.
He said that anyone can get involved to help out.
“You can be ordinary people and make a change and make your community happen,” said Cassidy.
He also had a warning for the other two parties.
“The orange crush is coming. It’s coming all the way from Alberta and all the way from Quebec, but it’s coming and it should get to the Bay of Quinte,” he said.