Jeff Green | Jun 14, 2007
Feature Article - March 8, 2007
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Wilson wins Provincial Liberal nominationby Jeff GreenIan Wilson of Amherstview will carry the Liberal banner into this fall’s provincial election in the riding of Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (LFL&A). His main rival will be Perth’s Randy Hillier, the candidate for the Progressive Conservative Party.
Wilson won a narrow victory at last Sunday’s nomination meeting at the Verona Lions Hall over Bill MacDonald of Sharbot Lake, in a 382-362 vote.
The two men conducted vigorous campaigns, each singing up over 500 members in the run up to the meeting.
Lanark Frontenac Lennox and Addington (LFL&A) is a new provincial riding, encompassing part of the Hastings Frontenac Lennox and Addington riding that is currently held by Liberal cabinet minister Leona Dombrowsky, and part of Lanark-Carleton, currently held by former Conservative cabinet minister Norm Sterling. With Dombrowski running in the new riding of Prince Edward Hastings, and Sterling in Carleton-Mississippi Mills, the riding of LFL&A is wide open.
“The nomination process was quite interesting,” Ian Wilson told the News when contacted on Monday morning after the selection meeting. “There were a lot of kitchen table conversations, a chance to connect or re-connect with a lot of people. I was very pleased with the outcome. It could have gone either way.”
Bill MacDonald, who is well known to Frontenac News’ readers as a councilor and deputy reeve in the former Oso township and as the mayor of Central Frontenac from 1998 until last December, said that while he had hoped for a different result, he was happy with the support that he did receive.
“Coming into this from a dead standstill position, with no experience at this level of promotion, and not having any infrastructure in place, I thought we did pretty darned well,” he said.
The association as a whole seems to have benefited from the contested race. At the outset, there were 49 members in the new Liberal riding association, and now there are 1079. According to riding association President Marlene Patton, the 744 people who took the trouble to truck out to Verona from as far away as Carleton Place represents the highest percentage turnout for any liberal association in the province thus far.
“These people will be a great resource in the coming election campaign,” said MacDonald.
Ian Wilson was a fixture at St. Lawrence College, where he was employed for 36 years, rising to the position of Dean of the School of Business. He was also involved in municipal government for many years, eventually serving as deputy reeve and reeve in Ernestown Tonwship (now part of Loyalist Township), and he served as warden of Lennox and Addington County before dropping out of municipal politics in 1994.
He has taken on major volunteer roles in the Kingston area over the years, including serving as Chair of the Board of Kingston General Hospital (KGH), founding Board Chair of the Kingston Area Recycling Corporation (KARC) and President of the Cataraqui Conservation Foundation.
His involvement as a civic leader in Kingston will be useful in the campaign, he believes, because of the role played by the institutions he has been involved with throughout the riding and because many of the larger communities in the riding are oriented to Kingston.
He cites KGH as an example. “KGH is the tertiary care facility for the Smiths Falls and Perth hospitals, and I became familiar with them through my involvement with KGH.” He also said that his work and volunteer experience has given him insight into the education and medical systems, as well as environmental issues. “These are three of the major provincial areas of responsibility, and I am comfortable addressing them.
Looking forward to the campaign, Wilson acknowledges that his main opponent, Randy Hillier, “has made himself a provincial presence through his work with the Lanark and then the Ontario Landowne’’s Association.” He also recognises that Hillier has drawn the attention of some senior Liberals, such as Health Minister George Smitherman, who seems intent on using Hillier as a wedge to draw urban votes away from the Conservative party. which could hurt the liberals in rural ridings.
Wilson does not think this will hurt his own chances in LFL&A. “There are a lot of people who have carried conservative cards that are not comfortable with Mr. Hillier’s positions. He has angered many farmers with his views on supply management for example. I can talk to those people and convince them that he is not the best thing for this riding.
“But I haven’t looked at any of the details of his positions. At this point I’ve only been reading the media coverage. I’m sure he has some positive things to say, and I look forward to hearing them.”Before the election campaign begins in earnest in September, Wilson is looking forward to travelling the riding this summer. “It is important to hear what people are concerned about. I want to work for the people in this riding, and if there are some policies that don’t fit I need to know about them.” Other Stories this Week View RSS feed