Newmarket-Aurora federal NDP candidate Yvonne Kelly said the issues she has previously campaigned on are still top of mind for people.
Running in her third straight election in the riding after being acclaimed for the nomination Aug. 16, Kelly said issues such as affordable housing, pharmacare, and child care are still just as prominent as they were in 2019.
With that, Kelly said she wanted to run again to speak to those issues on the trail.
“People are still hurting and most of the folks I would be working with on a regular basis throughout my work, and also my community work, are even further behind when it comes to income, housing and health,” Kelly said. “I still have a lot to offer and have really been engaged in those issues.”
Kelly is a longtime social policy advocate. She currently works as a community resource facilitator with the York Region District School Board. But she has also done community work as the co-chair of the Social Planning Council of York Region, and chair of the Social Planning Network of Ontario.
“I know the community well,” Kelly said. “Very well connected in professional circles and community circles, to kind of make whatever changes need to happen in order to make people’s lives better.”
Kelly said local residents are passionate about other social and environmental issues, like climate change and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
“We have really strong activists. We have people in Newmarket-Aurora who are fighting for all these issues,” Kelly said. “Hopefully, this is the right time to put all those issues front and centre.”
Historically, the NDP has been a distant third in every election in the Newmarket-Aurora riding since it was formed in 2004. Kelly earned 10.6 per cent of the vote in 2019, 6,516 total, and 8.5 per cent of the vote share in 2015, 4,806 total.
Kelly said the challenge is to get people to vote aspirationally instead of strategically, and see there are other options besides the Liberals and Conservative parties. But she added her party can make a difference, regardless of the result.
"I really think a lot of times, even when we don’t win, we influence the conversation., We change the narrative," Kelly said. "We get people asking questions they would not necessarily ask all the candidates. I would just challenge voters to listen to what people are saying.”
Kelly encouraged people to examine the issues and be involved in the election, even if they are questioning the circumstances of how it happened.
“These are our times and our opportunities to change,” Kelly said. “Let’s participate. Even if we didn’t want this, even if we thought what worse time there could be to have an election, this is our chance.”