City councillor running for Liberals in Hamilton East—Stoney Creek


Published April 18, 2022 at 8:01 pm

Jason Farr could continue the Hamilton City Hall to Hamilton East—Stoney Creek shuttle.

The third-term Ward 2 city councilllor was introduced today (April 18) as the Ontario Liberal Party candidate in Hamilton East—Stoney Creek for the provincial election, which takes place in 45 days on June 2. Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca was on hand for the annoucement in Battlefield Park in Stoney Creek.

Last spring, one-time Hamilton mayor Bob Bratina decided not to seek re-election for the federal Liberals in the riding. Chad Collins, a longtime Hamilton city councillor for Ward 5, kept the seat Liberal red by winning a three-way race in the federal vote last September. Bratina now has his hat in the ring for the mayoralty race in Hamilton.

Farr campaigned for Collins in the federal race last fall, which led to “serious conservations” about him running for the provincial party. Bratina and fellow former Hamilton mayor and Liberal lobbyist Larry Di Ianni were also present for the annoucement, along with three other OLP hopefuls who are running in NDP-held Hamilton seats.

“This is a return to my roots here, running for the Ontario Liberal Party as a candidate for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek,” Farr said during prepared remarks. “It is more than a homecoming for myself — it’s an affirmation, I think, and my decades of a city-building as a local councillor, as a broadcaster before that, is worthy of an official affiliation to the only party focused on expanding opportunities for all… I will take none of this for granted. It is a true honour.

“I had the pleasure (last year) of speaking to hundreds and hundreds of Hamilton East and Stoney Creek residents during the hugely successful campaign for Chad Collins, a dear friend of mine from council and beyond. And as often is the case with campaigning, prevailing themes arise at the door. What I heard most often a few short months was an acknowledgement, and a concern, of the political polarization going on — of the entrenched divisive views of the left and the right that have left many residents and business operators feeling frustrated and feeling excluded.

“There’s a growing appetite in Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, and beyond, to get back to inclusiveness and prudent management.”

Farr will be running in a riding that is growing in population, where the Liberals and Andrea Horwath-led Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP) will be competing seriously as part of the larger race against the incumbent Ontario PC Party, led by Premier Doug Ford. The seat is technically open.

The Ontario NDP are not letting four-term MPP Paul Miller run under their banner after a party investigation. Miller has spoken of running as an independent candidate.

The Ontario PCs have nominated Neil Lumsden, a retired sports administrator and Canadian Football Hall of Fame honoured member. Lumdsen was most recently director of Brock Sports at the university in St. Catharines before retiring in 2019. In the early 2000s, he also helping bring the world road cycling championships to Hamilton. Lumdsen had a 10-season CFL playing career that included two seasons with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Since the riding was created ahead of the 2007 election, between 63 and 78 per cent of HE—SC voters have voted either NDP or Liberal. The bulk of that support went to the NDP and their candidate, Miller.

The Liberals’ best result was 35.12 per cent in ’07. The best Ontario PC showing in this stretch was 28.81 per cent in 2018, during their majority win.

In that vote four years ago, the Liberals went from 15 years of being in power to plunging to seven seats and losing official party status at Queen’s Park. When Del Duca was asked about the Miller-NDP drama in the riding, though, he steered his reponse solely toward the PCs and Doug Ford.

“When people ask you, ‘Del Duca, what makes you think you can do this?’ I say it’s the team,” said Del Duca, who was the transportation minister in the former OLP government under then-premier Kathleen Wynne. “The team that we have managed to assemble, the women and men who have stepped forward such as Jason Farr who have stepped forward because they believe so passionately in the plan we have developed that will make life better and expand opportunity for all Ontarians.

“That’s what people want to see, especially with all of the chaos and havoc we have had over the last four years from the Ford Conservatives.

“We know in this province, when you want to stop the Conservatives, it is only the Ontario Liberal Party that has that the capacity, the team and the plan to make that happen.”

Farr also steered his response to a query about whether Miller’s ouster influenced his choose to his personal history with the Liberals.

“My decision was probably 1976,” he said. “My mother, as a single mother to my brother Greg and I, was very active in campaigns, helping (Hamilton-area Liberal representatives) Shirley Collins, John Munro, Sheila Copps. I had a very early affinity to the Liberal party and the non-divisive approach. Several months ago, it really became serious. The serious conversations started after the MP’s campaign. I can’t imagine myself not in a position that involves public service.”

In 2018, the NDP won four of five Hamilton-area seats, with Donna Skelly claiming Flamborough—Glanbrook for the Ontario PC Party.

Ekaterini Dimakis, a community leader and advocate, is running for the Liberals in Hamilton Centre, which is NDP Leader Andrea Horwath’s riding. Chantale Lachance is the nominee in Hamilton Mountain, which is currently represented by the NDP’s Monique Taylor.

Shubha Sandil is the Liberal nominee against the NDP’s Sandy Shaw in Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas (HWAD). The Green Party has also nominated Syam Chandra, an educator who was done award-winning work in youth homelessness, as its candidate in HWAD.

Further city council shake-up

Farr was first elected Ward 2 city councillor in 2010. Last time around, he had a nearly 17-point margin against social justice activist Cameron Kroetsch, receiving 46.86 per cent support to the challenger’s 29.99.

Kroetsch announced in January that he would run again municipally.

Hamilton is already assured of at least four new city councillors after its election on Oct. 24. Wards 4, 5, 11 and 15 are open seats. Respectively, Couns. Sam Merulla, Russ Powers, Brenda Johnson and Judi Partridge have announced they are not running in the fall.

Another four city councillors around the 16-representative horseshoe are in their first terms.

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