Ottawa/Queens Park




- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

The Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound (BGOS) provincial Liberals broke the suspense today with an announcement that Francesca Dobbyn will be seeking the nomination for the Ontario election June 7.

Dobbyn says she believes the province has made important changes in addressing issues of equity, fairness in the workplace and building a better economy. At the announcement today, she pointed out the "amazing amount of investment" the province has made in our region – from the wastewater treatment plant to the future hospital in Markdale – and she wants to build on that momentum.

Dobbyn says she has already proven to be a strong voice for Grey-Bruce, and for rural and small town Ontario. When the province wanted to understand why rural residents were paying twice what their urban neighbours were for energy, Dobbyn went to tell them. Since she has been at the energy table, there has been a "Fair Hydro Plan"implemented, an 8% rebate, and a ban on winter disconnections.

Dobbyn says she made her final decision to run after the PC leadership race. Since then there have been no second thoughts, "Doug Ford is the greatest threat to the progress we have made in this province," she said. She is frustrated by the assumption "south of the 401" that there are efficiencies to be found in services that affect rural communities – "the assumption that we have transportation – when we have no regional transportation" she cites as an example.

Reaching out to fiscal conservatives who may perceive her as a "bleeding heart" is one of Dobbyn's goals. "I'm not just ..."write everybody a cheque"," she says, pointing out that addressing issues of poverty brings savings to all taxpayers by lowering costs such as health care and social services.

Born in Cornwall England, Francesca grew up in Kincardine where her father worked for BNPD, now Bruce Power. For the last 25 years, Francesca has lived in and around the region. Her two grown children have found their homes in northern Ontario. She has been Executive Director of the United Way Bruce Grey (UWBG) for over 13 years, and in that role helped found the Grey Bruce Children's Alliance and the Bruce Grey Poverty Taskforce.

Riding association president Richard Suchow said the Ontario Liberal Party has done its due diligence, and the board of the UWBG has agreed to give Dobbyn a leave for the duration of the campaign should she be nominated. The requirements of the Canada Revenue Agency have been met, as registered charities cannot engage in partisan political activities. Dobbyn says the agency will be "in good hands" while she is on leave after its best year ever.

The riding association's annual general meeting and nomination is planned for Saturday, April 21 at 3:30 at the Quality Inn on 6th Street East. The party is always recruiting and eligible BGOS voters have up until this Saturday to join the party if they want to vote at that meeting.

"Politics is not a game, " said Suchow, "It's about doing what is best for the community," and he encourages everyone to get involved.

Kim Love, former federal Liberal candidate, has agreed to be Dobbyn's campaign manager, and they will be working out of the federal Liberal office on 8th Street East, which they have borrowed for the next two months.

The Riding Association can be contacted through Richard Suchow at [email protected]

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