Allison Jones, The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, June 4, 2022 11:18 am EDT
Last updated Saturday, June 4, 2022 at 11:18 am EDT
One of Ontario’s newest elected representatives has a wealth of political experience, is a kickboxing champion, and puts a lot of his best thinking on his riding lawn mower.
Meet Bobby Ann Brady, the first independent in decades to win a seat in the legislature.
The newest member of the provincial parliament for Haldimand-Norfolk said, “I’m already having my goals and ambitions ready for my ride and the things I want to set up, the roundtable and the issues I want to bring up first.” I want.”
“So those things are already on my mind, and my grass is about a foot long. So tonight as I ride my lawn mower, I’m sure those thoughts continue.”
Among the sea of 83 blue seats on Ontario’s new electoral map that were won by the Progressive Conservatives are swaths of NDP orange in north and downtown Toronto, a swath of red Liberal seats in most Ottawa and Toronto pockets, and a green one. Spot is. Represents the re-elected party leader.
But one ride stands out. It could be gray or brown depending on the map, but either way it’s an anomaly.
Brady’s victory as an independent in Thursday’s election ended the Progressive Conservative’s hold on the riding of Haldimand-Norfolk and its predecessors since 1995. That year was also the last time voters anywhere in the province had sent an independent representative to the legislature.
Brady actually worked for 23 years as an executive and legislative assistant for Ride’s former Tory representative, Toby Barrett, and supported his campaign.
Barrett did not intend to run again in 2022, but he and Brady – who had been president of the local PC Riding Association – were not happy that the party had nominated Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt as the candidate. Decided against a nomination meeting.
Barrett told a local media outlet that he was disappointed that one of his “arrogants” would be walking into his ride. The story in community outlet The Sachem cited Barrett pointing to disagreements over COVID-19 communication and First Nations’ handling of the protests.
Brady said he and Barrett could not waive Hewitt’s appointment because they had previously tried to take the federal Liberals nomination.
So her independent campaign was born, and it became about respecting the grassroots and listening to constituents, she said.
“I think Haldimand-Norfolk did a great job in sending that message, ‘Hey, you know what? You expected us to go to the ballot box and check the name of the PC candidate and we didn’t. did,'” she said.
“You can’t continue to disrespect us, our votes and our money and will continue to be rewarded.”
Brady said he drew support not only from disaffected Progressive Conservative voters, but also from the Liberal and NDP camps. Brady said they went from house to house, called their friends, relatives and neighbors and helped him win.
“We won this campaign on old-fashioned values and old-fashioned propaganda, where people just went out and talked about Bobby Ann Brady, and it worked,” she said.
The rules of the election meant that she could not spend money on campaigning until the writ period had officially started. They ordered materials as the election was underway, but their signs and propaganda literature didn’t reach the halfway point, he said.
“Other candidates were already campaigning much ahead of me, they are already spending money, as soon as the writ was removed,” she said.
“So we were two and a half weeks deprived. And yet, we made it through.”
Brady said she’s working toward her black belt in karate and got into kickboxing about seven or eight years ago, winning nationally and traveling to a world competition in Florida.
She is also a hockey player, participating in boys’ league until the age of 18, then playing women’s hockey. It was on the field that someone suggested that he try kickboxing and he liked it.
He is excited to work in the legislature and raise issues such as local highway infrastructure and a controversial proposed development, but for now he will have to let the historic victory sink in.
“You go, go, go for 28 days straight and you don’t sleep much and you wonder what it looks like on the other side,” she said. “But once you get to the end of it and you’re on the other side, it’s a whole new ball of wax.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 4, 2022.