‘People should be able to assess their own risk and make their own decisions’ – Matt Millar, New Blue Party of Ontario


city_scope_logo-cmykFounded in 2020, the New Blue Party of Ontario is led by Jim Karahalios, the husband of Belinda Karahalios, former PC MPP for Cambridge and now the party’s first MPP.
She was turfed from the PC caucus after voting against Bill 195, the Reopening Ontario Act, which she described as “an unnecessary overreach on our parliamentary democracy.”
New Blue identifies itself as “an anti-establishment centre-right political party.”
The party aims to field candidates in all ridings for the June 2 provincial election.
It has put forward Matt Millar, a life-long Lambeth resident, as its prospective candidate for Elgin-Middlesex-London.
A third-generation fruit farmer who also operates a small tech support company, Millar advises the party is all about less government involvement.
“The reason I got into this is I just want people to have more control over their own lives. I don’t want the government to be overbearing and forcing people to do things they don’t want.”

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‘We’ll get our running shoes on and get out on our listening and learning tour’ – EML PC nominee Rob Flack


city_scope_logo-cmykThere were several tire-kickers, apparently, but according to riding association president Bill Fehr, only one hopeful stepped forward with paperwork in hand.
That was Rob Flack of Dorchester. And so, in the June provincial vote, Flack will be the PC candidate representing Elgin-Middlesex-London.
We caught up with him yesterday morning (Jan. 21) on his way to work and delayed his arrival by a few minutes.
However when you are president and CEO of a large operation like Masterfeeds, who is going to complain.
Their mission statement is as follows, “As a leader in the Canadian animal nutrition industry, Masterfeeds will serve livestock and poultry producers with research-based and proven animal feeding solutions – supported by skilled employees, dealers and sales staff who are accountable to the ongoing success of our customers and stakeholders.”
The short version is catchy, “People advancing animal nutrition.”

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Modified Step Two of the province’s Roadmap to Reopen: A restaurant killer?


city_scope_logo-cmykIt was less than encouraging news this week for St. Thomas and area businesses.
Ontario’s top doctor, Dr. Kieran Moore, advises he can’t offer any guarantee the current COVID-19 public health restrictions will be lifted on Jan. 26, even though in-class learning opens up on Monday.
Businesses across the province have been begging for greater clarity on the restrictions.
Dr. Moore says he understands their frustration, but any easing of restrictions will be tied to hospital and ICU cases.
There is an expectation, says Dr. Moore, the picture may become a little clearer sometime next week, however, those restrictions will be eased in a slow and careful fashion.
Just after announcing the move to a Modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen at the beginning of January, we talked with Earl Taylor, chairman of the Downtown Development Board to get a sense of the impact locally.

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The elimination of long-term homelessness is a key goal of the St. Thomas housing plan


city_scope_logo-cmykHow do you determine what market value rent is? And, who determines that?
It was a good question from Coun. Jim Herbert at the Aug. 9 city council meeting and was prompted by the 2020 Progress Report on the city’s 10-year Housing and Homelessness Plan.
It’s a question that has been raised in comments from readers of this corner.
Danielle Neilson is the city’s Homelessness and Housing Supervisor and the report in question noted the city owns and manages 558 units of housing, including 512 units of rent-geared-to-income housing.
That’s a significant number and it’s part of the role of the St. Thomas-Elgin Social Services Department to administer and/or deliver “a range of housing and homelessness programs including existing social housing, new affordable housing, rent supplements, housing allowances, portable housing benefits, home repair assistance, homeownership down-payment assistance, funding for emergency shelters and transitional housing, and other homelessness prevention programs including the Housing Links for People (HeLP) program.

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Awaiting the green light on an Elgin-Middlesex-London Liberal nominee


city_scope_logo-cmykWith just 99 days until the federal election, you might very well be wondering who the Liberal party has tasked with attempting to unseat incumbent Karen Vecchio in Elgin-Middlesex-London (EML) riding.
Well, the short answer is no one.
The nomination meeting was originally scheduled for January and here we are midway through July with no designated candidate although we know Lori Baldwin-Sands has filed papers.
Will she be acclaimed at some point in the very near future?
A phone call to David Goodwin of the federal Liberal riding association should result in some answers.
“They haven’t called the nomination yet,” advised Goodwin.

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PC candidate Jeff Yurek responds to Health Minister Deb Matthews


At the nomination meeting where Ald. Lori Baldwin-Sands was acclaimed provincial Liberal candidate for Elgin-Middlesex-London, MPP Deb Matthews made a rather outlandish claim.

She suggested PC leader Tim Hudak has a true allegiance to ‘Big Pharma’ in Ontario and that’s why he’s running pharmacists as candidates across the province, a reference to popular St. Thomas pharmacist Jeff Yurek, who recently won the provincial PC nomination for EML. Read full story here.

Via a letter to the editor, Yurek responds to Matthews . . .

In response to the allegations made by the Minister of Health, Deb Matthews, it is necessary to clarify her misstatements.
While I am flattered Ms. Matthews would think that I was hand selected by the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, Tim Hudak, her statement is false.

Through a democratic process, I was elected from a field of five candidates by the members of the Elgin-Middlesex-London riding association for the provincial Progressive Conservative Party. Mr. Hudak played no role in the nomination process.

I was elected by the party membership because of their confidence in my experience and abilities. I am a husband, a father, a business owner and a healthcare professional who understands and can bring an educated and experienced point of view to Queen’s Park.

It is important to focus on the real issues in healthcare.

Dalton McGuinty has wasted over one billion dollars on the E-Health scandal and one of the top bureaucrats during the scandal was paid $763,000 in 2010, even though he quit in 2009. The bureaucracy of the Local Health Integration Networks consumes resources that would be better used for frontline healthcare.

A Tim Hudak Progressive Conservative government will put an end to E-Health waste, scrap the LHINs and reinvest the money into frontline healthcare.

Jeff Yurek
Progressive Conservative Candidate
Elgin-Middlesex-London

Peter Ostojic’s hopes of gaining Conservative nomination dashed in Toronto


City Scope has learned former St. Thomas mayor Peter Ostojic’s bid to gain the provincial Conservative nomination in Elgin-Middlesex-London was quashed at party headquarters.

Ostojic declared his intention to run in early February, however his bid was not approved in Toronto and he was informed Monday, less than a week prior to Saturday’s nomination meeting at Parkside Collegiate Institute.

Alan Sakach, director of communications for the Ontario PC Party, told City Scope on Tuesday five individuals are in the running: Lynn Acre, Tom Marks, Peter North, Delia Reiche and Jeff Yurek.

When asked to confirm Ostojic is not on the final nomination list, Sakach responded, “That is correct, he is not.”

Asked to explain the discrepancy in reports published in the Times-Journal about Ostojic’s nomination bid, Sakach stressed, “It’s an internal organizational matter by the party. We’ve got rules and a process and if there’s a dispute there is a process that is available to resolve that. In general, I won’t comment on people that may not be running, only when they are confirmed as running.”

When asked to confirm Ostojic had indeed filed his nomination bid, Sakach would only say, “There are lots of people interested in running for the party, but like I said I’m not going to comment on people until they are confirmed.”

PC Riding Association president Stan Stanek confirmed the decision was relayed to Ostojic on Monday.

“I haven’t been officially notified by the party, but apparently they’ve notified Mr. Ostojic and it was left up to him to let us know. And, in fact, he has let me know. It is a fact. It was disclosed Monday afternoon.”

Asked if this will alter the process for Saturday’s nomination meeting, Stanek said, “It doesn’t change the process, we’ll just be missing one candidate, which everyone was counting on. I was surprised myself, but that’s their decision.”

City Scope hopes to have comments from Ostojic on Wednesday and the full story will appear in the Times-Journal.

Suzanne van Bommel will not seek Liberal nod in Elgin-Middlesex-London


VAN BOMMEL Susan
BELMONT – The next federal election ballot will not feature the name Suzanne van Bommel on it.
The past federal Liberal candidate, van Bommel has made it known that she will not be seeking the nomination for the riding of Elgin-Middlesex-London for an election that could be held as soon as this fall. The long-time Liberal insider in both provincial and federal politics has accepted an extended contract with her current employer, GreenField Ethanol, that will keep her from committing as much time and energy as required to seek public office.
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