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To the Editor:

I had sworn as soon as the election grumblings started that I would sit this one out and take a much-needed break from political activism of any kind. The constant barrage of news coming out of the US presidential election was frankly exhausting, and the level of discourse has become pretty discouraging. As much as I'd like to help inspire  positive change, the last few political cycles have made it increasingly difficult to find the silver linings that inspire regular citizens like me to get involved.

However, as our major political parties' priorities began to emerge and they selected the leaders they did, it became clear that this election deserves our attention and involvement. There's an awful lot at stake.

I was thrilled when my friend and mentor Francesca Dobbyn stepped forward and threw her hat in the ring for the Liberal nomination. Her decision to run Liberal was surprising at a glance, given how much grief she's given them over the last several years over energy rates. It turns out that was exactly why the provincial Liberals approached Francesca and asked her to represent them in our riding. Rather than simply highlighting the problems, she came to them with solutions. She dug into the data and came up with workable answers, then worked hard to get everyone on the same page.

It's a gift Francesca has--that rare ability to align otherwise disparate forces and unite people to work towards a common cause.

I'm not a party person, myself. And as a mother who fought hard against funding cuts, rural school closures, a lack of resources and other issues in the public school board, I've had no love for the Liberals' management of the education system. Even so, I am not prepared to stand back and watch our province follow in the footsteps of our neighbours south of the border by falling victim to the misinformation, culture of fear and divisive mantra of the populist movement Doug Ford represents.

Looking at the big picture, I'm not thrilled with any one party. That's why I offered to work on Francesca's campaign. Our political system needs honest, hardworking people who aren't afraid to clap back at their party when they do the wrong thing. We need to see our elected representatives bringing creative solutions to the table and working with others from all parties to get the work of our government done.

As a small business owner, I don't believe Doug Ford has brought anything of substance to the table that's going to improve my ability to operate my business. As a mother and also the daughter of a man who suffered chronic health issues from being poisoned in the Walkerton E.Coli incident until the day he died, I fear the fallout of the inevitable healthcare cuts of a Ford PC government.

I can't get behind everything a single party is offering. I certainly can't get behind Doug Ford. He's promised to slash our social safety net and waste more time and money on issues we really need to move past, such as reforming sex ed (again), cancelling the CBC, and cutting beer prices.

But I can - and did -  100% get behind a person with Francesca's track record, skills and attitude tackling the issues that matter to us here in Grey and Bruce. Ontario's economy is strong, and it is the right time to invest in our people. I want to see Francesca sitting at the table when the decisions that affect us here are being made. She's a voice Toronto can't ignore and we need that now more than ever.

Miranda Miller

Owen Sound

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