Jun 19, 2019
24 year-old Kayley Kennedy, a recent Masters graduate in political management, will carry the Liberal banner in Lanark Frontenac Kingston into the coming federal election.
Kennedy has worked in the parliamentary office of Toronto MP Jules Dzerowics and currently runs her own communications company from her family home near Smiths Falls.
She was chosen on Saturday after nomination meetings were held in Sydenham and Perth. While the results of the vote were not announced, party officials said that Kennedy was a very popular choice among the 99 party members who voted in person at the meetings.
She acknowledged, in a phone interview with the Frontenac News on Tuesday (June 18) that she faces “an uphill battle” in this riding, come election day in October.
In the previous election in 2014, the Liberal candidate, Phil Archambault, received 1/3 of the vote (33.76%) finishing second to long time Conservative MP Scott Reid (47.6%) in an election where the Conservative Party were tossed from government. The winning margin for Reid was 8,000 votes. The 2014 election was the first in what was a newly created riding that united all of Lanark County into one jurisdiction, along with mainland Frontenac County and the portion of the4 City of Kingston north of Hwy. 41. It was Reid’s sixth consecutive successful campaign, going back to 2000 in the former Lanark-Carleton riding.
“As I have been travelling the riding, I have heard clearly, particularly in Frontenac and North Kingston, that their MP isn’t seen. One of the things that I learned while working for Jules Dzerowics, from watching how hard she worked, was the value of being present in the riding.
“The incumbent in this riding [Reid] has a role with Giant Tiger, his family business. I think an MP should be working at it full time, coming back to the constituency every Friday, Saturday and Sunday when the house is in session so that you can truly represent those interests in Ottawa.”
As far as issues are concerned, she thinks that the same things are important to the electorate throughout the riding.
“Agricultural issues are important, there are farmers throughout the riding, as well as good quality Internet access. I’ve been running a home-based business and without good Internet service I wouldn’t be able to do that.”
Coming up from the ranks of the Liberal youth wing, she is comfortable with the party’s program and with the record of the Trudeau government.
“825,000 people across the country have been lifted out of poverty over the last four years, which is quite an accomplishment.”
She said the Trudeau government deserves credit for following through on a campaign promise to legalise cannabis, paving the way for a new industry that has had a huge impact in her home town of Smiths Falls.
“Smiths Falls had lost Hershey, Stanley Tools and other large employers, but now Tweed [and its parent company, Canopy Growth] have stepped in and provided growth, good jobs and hope. Without legal cannabis that would not have happened.”
She is also supportive of the government’s decision to jettison one of its other campaign promises, electoral reform.
“I would say that it was a complex issue and the government looked into it carefully and found lots of issues that changed their perspective. These included interference in the electoral system, and an unstable political climate around the world. They decided now wasn’t the time to do it. I know that some people are disappointed about it, but they had a decision to make,” she said.
The federal election is slated for October 19th, and the official campaign will not be getting underway until September, but Kennedy, like the other candidates, expects to be travelling around the riding all summer meeting voters.
Kennedy joins incumbent Scott Reid (PC party) who lives in Perth, and Green Party candidate Stephen Kotze from Elphin, in the local race. John Theoret from Packenham had been chosen as the candidate for the new Peoples Party of Canada, but media reports this week indicate he has dropped out of the race. The New Democratic Party has not yet selected a candidate.