The provincial election campaign got off to an unofficial start in Orléans on Sunday with the opening of local Liberal incumbent Stephen Blais’ campaign office on St. Joseph Blvd.
The actual election campaign won’t start until next Wednesday, May 4, when the official writ is dropped. It’s also the day you will start to see campaign signs sprout up around the riding along with the crocuses and some tulip and daffodil bulbs.
The election itself will take place on Thursday, June 2, meaning the campaign will be spread out over a 28-day period.
Blais won the seat in a by-election in February 2020 after former MPP Marie-France Lalonde successfully ran to replace former MP Phil McNeely at the federal level after McNeely had retired.
In winning his seat, Blais captured more than 55 per cent of the votes, beating his nearest challenger, Conservative candidate Nathalie Montgomery, by more than 8,000 votes.
The Conservative Party has yet to reveal their candidate this time around, although for a brief time thay had Melissa Felian listed as the local candidate on the provincial party's website. She was there as recently as April 24, but by the next day her name and picture had been removed.
Felian, a senior investment officer with Industry Canada. She ran federally in Markham-Thornhill in the last election and lost to Liberal candidate by more than 13,000 votes.
Whoever runs for the Conservatives in Orléans will have their work cut for themselves.
The NDP candidate is Gabe Bourdon, who has held various positions with the Public Service Alliance of Canada. He is vice-presi-dent of the conseil d’ecole d’Ecole Elementaire de St. Joseph and is a long-time member of the Navan Curling Club.
The Green Party candidate is long-time community advocate and party organizer Michelle Peterson who lives in Convent Glen North. She ran for the Green Party in Orléans in the 2019 federal election and finished fourth behind the NDP candidate.
Her biggest strength is in knowing how to articulate the Green Party’s platform better than most of her colleagues.
The only other candidate to come forward so far is Liam Randall who is running for the newly formed New Blue party, which was founded by Cambridge MPP Belinda Karahalios and her husband Jim after she was kicked out of the Conservative caucus for voting against Bill 125, The Reopening Ontario Act, which expanded the Ford government’s emergency authority during the pandemic.
According to his Linkedin profile, Randall is currently a health inspector for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit and he’s bilingual.
Orléans has been held by the Liberals for the past 19 years covering the last six provincial elections. It was last held by the Conservatives from 1999 to 2003 when former Cumberland Mayor Brian Coburn was MPP..