By Courtney Bachar/The Oshawa Express
Oshawa MPP Jennifer French has been nominated as the New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate for the 2022 provincial election.
The nomination took place virtually Wednesday night with approximately 140 people in attendance.
If re-elected, this will be her third term in office. French was first elected in 2014, beating 19-year Progressive Conservative incumbent Jerry Ouellette by 7,695 votes.
“After tonight, we’re all going to be kicking it into high gear as we head into the provincial election, and the stakes are high,” says French.
She says there’s a lot of work that comes through the constituency office, adding she can’t imagine Oshawa without it.
“Neighbouring Conservative MPPs approach their community work very differently, if at all, and the person-to-person work that we do makes a very real difference,” she says.
French says she understands these are tough times for a lot of people, noting she hears their stories, their fears, their worries, their ideas, their personal pain, and their stress.
“So many people were struggling before the pandemic, and things have only gotten worse since COVID,” she continues.
“We want good jobs, stability, safety, and, not just for our rich developer friends, we want it for all of our neighbours. We want it for people that we haven’t even met yet.”
French says she’s proud of the work the NDP has done during the pandemic, noting their plans are based on what is needed most – a plan for housing based on the principle that every Ontarian deserves a good place to call home without exception; the green New Democratic Deal to ensure a sustainable future and a just transition; and, as the province turns towards recovery, their Save Main Street Plan, which would help keep small businesses afloat through the pandemic and into the future.
Further, French says she is committed to supporting aging Ontarians with a plan for a new public and non-profit home care and long-term care system.
Since being in office, French says she’s been shaped by the stories that have come across her desk and the relationships she’s built within the community.
However, she says it has been life changing and an honour to know and support the grieving families of Orchard Villa Long-Term Care Home and other homes in Durham Region.
“Their loss is unfathomable,” she says. “And yet, they have still found the voice and the strength to protect others and fight for accountability and justice for their lost loved ones, and for other families.”
She says she is committed to them and is working on a private member’s bill to ensure accountability within the system.
“I want [the] legislature to be filled with voices of real people. I want the assembly to reflect the needs and hopes of everyday folks,” she says, adding she will continue to fight for paid sick days so that people do not have to make impossible choices and risk their health or the roof over their head.
“[We] will continue to outline real solutions to real challenges.”
Long-time Oshawa resident and former MP for Oshawa Ed Broadbent, who sent in a video statement, said, “Despite the pandemic and the wake of what we are all enduring, Oshawa has a great future ahead, and it’s a future we will all help to build and all believe in.” He added that Oshawa “deserves to have a New Democrat elected to share their voices and fight” for residents at Queen’s Park.
He says the NDP have been working tirelessly on behalf of workers, families and people who need services, care and equitable systems.
“The NDP have never wavered in their support for strong public health care and education, safe work places and good jobs,” says Broadbent.
He says the next provincial election will be a change election – an election about hope and recovery, adding that’s where French and the NDP are ready to step up for Ontario and create a better future for all.
Broadbent says he was proud to represent Oshawa in parliament from 1968 to 1990, and was proud again in 2014 to endorse French when she ran against Ouellette.
“She won and she’s been winning ever since,” he says. “She has worked day in and day out for the people of Oshawa and we must be sure to get her back to Queen’s Park in the next election.”
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says French is a “powerhouse of an MPP” and it will do Oshawa very well to have her re-elected.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of the work that Jennifer has done, not only for the City of Oshawa, but really for the entire Durham Region,” says Horwath, noting French has fought for auto jobs and justice in long-term care, even before COVID-19 hit.
“She brings passion, she brings caring, she brings insight, and she brings the voice of people from the Durham Region into the legislature each and every time she’s there.”