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John Fraser has earned the opportunity to represent Ottawa South as the MPP

The Liberal Party nominee has come under some criticism during the Ottawa South by-election over some files that were the responsibilities of his predecessor, and the former Premier, Dalton McGuinty.

These have not been fair criticisms.

I, as a resident of the riding for 10 years and as an active member of the community, would like to instead point out that John has been a workhorse for the people of Ottawa South. It has been well-known that since the time that Mr. McGuinty became the Premier, that John was the go-to guy. If you had his attention, then things got done. I can particularly point to issues that have arisen in the field of child care whose resolution hit walls everywhere but at the Premier’s office, where John took on these files  and resolved some pretty significant problems.

I read in a recent blog post by a OPC supporter that the Premier was an “absentee” MPP. Yes, of course he was… by necessity. Our MPP had an entire province to look after and needed a strong individual to act as his proxy in the riding. This strong individual was John Fraser. I should also point out that this practice is the norm for all party leaders. When one’s MPP or MP is also a party leader, much of the constituency work must be done by a trusted and reliable member of the staff.

So, enough about John… what about the other candidates?

Matt Young is carrying the Tory torch and he seems like a nice guy and a smart and family-oriented individual.  The fact that I, a fairly well tuned-in community member, have never heard of him should not detract from the fact that he probably would work very hard for the community. However, his complete lack of political experience (according to his Facebook page) makes me scratch my head a bit and wonder how effective he would be at Queen’s Park in advancing the issues that are important to those of us in Ottawa South.

As the OPC’s federal cousins have asked of a certain chap: is he up to the job?

Finally, Tim Hudak is the OPC leader. And as long as this is the case, the OPC stands a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming the governing party. Hudak is one of the OLP’s best asset! Long may he rule!!

So what about Bronwyn Funiciello?

I really have to choose my words carefully here. She defeated me in the 2011 School Board elections, and any harsh criticisms might come across as sour grapes. I do hope what follows are nt seen as such because I respect Bronwyn for her dedication to the cause of education and she won the seat fair, square and honorably. She is a very amicable person who is obviously committed to quality education for the students in the OCDSB. What I question is her current campaign claim about serving her community.

I haven’t seen evidence of this.  Indeed, this was the main reason why I ran against her a couple years ago. While other Trustees on the OCDSB regularly attend Parent Council meetings, school BBQs and other events, Ms. Funiciello has been an absentee Trustee. She could learn something from Trustees Fisher, Blackburn and Shea… different political views, but they are thoroughly engaged in their respective communities.

I’m sure she has been effective as the Vice-Chair of the Board and has been dealing with most Board-wide matters effectively and wisely, but her lack of community engagement makes me seriously question how good she would be at engaging an even wider community than just her OCDSB Zone. An effective MPP (or MP or Trustee) must be able to manage both the broader issues as well as those at the constituency level.

Which brings me back to John Fraser. He will be able to manage both very well; certainly better than the well-intentioned though inexperienced OPC candidate or the experienced, yet somewhat disengaged ONDP nominee. He will serve the people of Ottawa South well.

He has earned a chance to prove me right.

Note: yes, I know there are six other candidates in the race, all of whom deserve our respect for seeking public office. But the three above are the only ones who have a realistic chance at winning the seat. And I’m writing this early on Thursday morning before my son wakes up, so I really don’t have the time to do a critical analysis of each and ever deserving candidate. Though politics as a vocation is a noble pursuit and all six are deserving of our respect.


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