As Newmarket-Aurora federal NDP candidate Yvonne Kelly celebrated the official opening of her campaign office Sept. 12, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was getting ready to kick Canada’s 43rd general election into gear by participating in the first national leaders debate hosted by Maclean’s and Citytv.
Although Kelly’s opening-day supporters didn’t know it at the time, they wouldn’t be surprised to later learn that Singh’s showing on the debate stage would be regarded by pundits as the “clear winner” among Canada’s three federal party leaders who participated, including Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May and Conservative Party of Canada Leader Andrew Scheer.
Liberal Party of Canada Leader Justin Trudeau declined to participate in the televised debate.
“Jagmeet is the real deal,” Kelly told NewmarketToday at the campaign office opening. “He reminds me of (the late NDP leader) Jack Layton. Jagmeet has the courage of conviction, he inspires hope, but he also has a practical optimism. He’s authentic and sincere to the core.”
While all candidates of the federal parties vying to be Newmarket-Aurora’s next MP have been unofficially campaigning since early summer, the campaign office opening signals a coordinated and full-steam ahead approach to getting out, meeting voters and talking about party policies and ideas.
Kelly was surrounded by close supporters, family and friends Thursday night as they opened the doors at the 17817 Leslie St. office. This is the second time her team has gathered around her bid for a federal seat. Kelly, an anti-poverty activist and affordable housing advocate in York Region, ran unsuccessfully in the 2015 federal election, finishing third of five candidates with 8.5 per cent of the popular vote.
She and her team will mount a “positive” campaign, but they vow to also challenge “the status quo or the standard that’s been set, because it’s been lowered and lowered for far too long".
“All summer we’ve been out, we’ve been testing the waters and finding out what people are thinking,” Kelly said. “Our platform has been out for a long time, we were the first out of the gate, so that has given us something to talk about.”
So, what has Kelly been hearing at the door?
“It comes back to the environment, housing, issues of affordability, which are really about inequality,” she said. “It’s not just that houses are more expensive, it’s that people have less money to spend because employment is not providing the fallback, and housing is taking up most of the money.”
The NDP campaign office is at 17817 Leslie St., Unit 45, in Newmarket.For more information, call 289-366-5004, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit them on Facebook @newmarketaurora.ndp or Twitter @na_ndp.