Still no answer a month after submitting tentative date
With a provincial election expected soon, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath will make another visit to Greater Sudbury this weekend, this time to attend the formal nomination of MPP France Gélinas in Nickel Belt.
The meeting will be held at Steelworker's Hall on Sunday at 1 p.m. With all signs pointing to an election being called next month, Horwath has been in Sudbury several times recently, including in January, to tour Stack Brewing with Sudbury NDP candidate Joe Cimino.
Once Gélinas is nominated, there will just be one major party without a nominated candidate in the two ridings – the Liberals in Sudbury. Bill Nurmi, the president of riding association in Sudbury, said Wednesday they sent a request to the Ontario Liberal Party to hold the meeting in April.
“We submitted our date, and we're still waiting for them to make a decision,” Nurmi said. “It's been about four weeks.”
Sudbury has been a Liberal stronghold for years. Current MPP Rick Bartolucci has held the seat since 1995, when he beat one-term MPP Sharon Murdock when the NDP led by Bob Rae was swept from power. The longtime cabinet minister announced in January 2013 he would not run for another term, and the party has been searching for a replacement since.
Two candidates – engineer Elise Idnani and businessman Andrew Olivier – are running for the nomination, however, both are new to politics. The fact a date hasn't been set for the nomination meeting in Sudbury – even as an election gets closer – has led to rumours the party is looking for a higher-profile candidate to help it keep a key riding such as Sudbury.
“I'm not sure what they're doing,” Nurmi said, when asked why the party hasn't gotten back to the local riding association. “I'm going to email (today) them expressing the fact we need a date, we want to confirm it, so we can get all the details right, book the hotel, and everything we need for the nomination process.”
Calls by Northern Life to the Ontario Liberal Party media office in Toronto seeking comment on why there's still no date on the nomination meeting were returned as of late Wednesday afternoon.
Candidates in Nickel Belt:
Liberals: James Tregonning;
New Democrats: France Gélinas (incumbent);
Progressive Conservatives: Marck Blay
Candidates in Sudbury:
Liberals: No date for nomination meeting
New Democrats: Joe Cimino
Progressive Conservatives: Paula Peroni