Provincial wing finally sets date for local nomination
Members will meet May 14 at the Howard Johnson Plaza-Hotel on Brady Street to choose a successor to Rick Bartolucci. The longtime cabinet minister announced in January 2013 he would retire when the next election was called.
Two candidates – engineer Elise Idnani and businessman Andrew Olivier – eventually stepped forward to run, but rumours surfaced the provincial party was looking for someone with a higher profile in hopes of retaining the seat.
That led to conflict with the local riding association, which pressed the provincial party to let them move forward with the meeting.
“We submitted our date, and we're still waiting for them to make a decision,” said Bill Nurmi, president of the Sudbury Provincial Liberal Riding Association, in a March interview. “I'm not sure what they're doing … 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.”
Rumours surfaced that Mayor Marianne Matichuk was being recruited to run. Despite denying the story, Matichuk was asked so often whether she was running, she stopped responding to questions on the issue.
Greg Crone, the provincial party's vice-present of communications, said last month no meeting date had been set to ensure “healthy nomination competition.
“As with all 107 ridings, a date for a nomination will be set once it is certain that all potential Liberal candidates have had time to campaign,” Crone said in an email March 26.
But with no other candidates stepping forward, local officials were finally able to confirm when the nomination meeting will be held.
“Our association has two stellar candidates -- Andrew Olivier and Elise Idnani -- and this will lead to a competitive nomination process and a unified association,” Nurmi said in a release Wednesday.
“I am very, very happy that the Ontario Liberal Party has agreed to a quick date for the nomination meeting and I look forward to the process unfolding and seeing a successor in my place,” Bartolucci said in the release.
Kathleen Wynne's minority Liberal government is expected to fall not long after it introduces its budget May 1. Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak has vowed to vote against the budget. While not vowing to defeat the Liberals, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has indicated she will not support the government again, after making a deal with Wynne last year.
Liberals: James Tregonning;
New Democrats: France Gélinas (incumbent);
Progressive Conservatives: Marck Blay
Green Party: Nomination meeting May 10
New Democrats: Joe Cimino
Progressive Conservatives: Paula Peroni
Green Party: Casey Lalonde
Liberals: Nomination meeting May 14