By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
The City of Oshawa is taking steps to recognize one of its most prolific politicians.
At its most recent meeting, city council approved a plan to rename a park at the corner of Harbour Road and Simcoe Street as the Ed Broadbent Waterfront Park.
A plaque will be installed at the park to recognize Broadbent’s contributions to the community.
Born in Oshawa in 1936, Broadbent was elected to Parliament as the city’s MP in 1968, starting a political stronghold that would last until his retirement in 1989.
From 1975 on, he also served as the federal leader of the NDP.
During his time as leader, the party enjoyed success that would not be repeated until Jack Layton took over as leader in 2003.
Broadbent was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 1993 and a companion of the Order of Canada in 2002.
He returned to politics in 2004, winning the riding of Ottawa Centre.
Mayor Dan Carter said in the past Broadbent hasn’t been very receptive to efforts to recognize him.
“My first step was to call Mr. Broadbent,” Carter says.
Calling the former MP a “tremendous leader,” Carter added, “Everything this gentleman stood for was the people. Truly, he believed in the best of all of us.”
Ward 5 city and regional councillor Brian Nicholson worked on Broadbent’s campaign when he was 14-years-old.
Although he traveled all over the country as MP, Nicholson said Broadbent took Oshawa wherever he went.
“He always spoke of his community… Ed was Oshawa, no matter how far he was, he always came back,” Nicholson said. “It will be a long time before anyone can match his contribution in Oshawa.”
Ward 5 city councillor John Gray said recognition like this can never happen too early.
“We always wait to recognize somebody after they die, this recognizes somebody for their accomplishments and good deeds while they’re alive,” Gray stated.
The official naming of Ed Broadbent Waterfront Park and the unveiling of the plaque is planned for spring 2020.