Nurse and union activist Aisha Jahangir was chosen as the local New Democratic Party’s candidate for the upcoming federal election during a nomination meeting on Saturday, after a campaign that saw two nominees vying to run this fall in what has been set up as a competitive race in the Guelph riding and nationally.
When asked what the future holds for her as an MP candidate, Jahangir said “lots of hard work”, but first up is assembling her team before they start hitting the streets by next week. Though she acknowledged herself as the only female major party candidate, Jahangir explained her “healthcare background” gives her more of an edge than her gender.
During a scrum with media after she was declared the winner, the Guelph-raised nurse said that, because her party was the last to choose a candidate heading into the fall, it was important her campaign hit the pavement canvassing as soon as possible.
National polls have indicated that the Green Party is catching up the third-place New Democrats and a projection by analyst P.J. Fournier found that the Greens were surpassing all of the parties in Guelph. To the question of those polls, Jahangir said “it’s definitely not impossible” and if her party works together, the local riding could send a New Democrat member of parliament to Ottawa.
Jahangir was nominated by Upper Grand District School Board trustee Mike Foley and party activist Hannah Derue*. Foley told The Post that he will do “whatever I can do to help her” and said she “is a top-flight candidate and I think we have the best chance of winning with her as our candidate”. He added she represented the values of the NDP.
Jahangir and her opponent Andy McCann-Pappin both gave speeches before and after members voted to choose their candidate. McCann-Pappin, who has served in several behind-the-scenes capacities within the local New Democrats, put forward a motion to destroy the ballot results and give Jahangir unanimous support from the riding association.
In total, 49 party members entered ballots for their candidate of choice, riding association President Tim Matthewson confirmed to The Post, adding that there were about 80 people in attendance and “many signed up as new members”.
Jahangir, who ran unsuccessfully for school trustee in Ward 6 and Puslinch during the municipal election in 2018, will be going up against Liberal incumbent MP Lloyd Longfield, Green candidate Steve Dyck, Conservative Dr. Ashish Sachan and the People’s Party of Canada candidate Mark Paralovos.
The MP candidate gave an extensive interview to The Post ahead of the nomination meeting where she described her experience in healthcare and why she was running. The middle-aged mother of two said that coming from the working-class gave her an edge over the other confirmed candidates, who mostly come from business backgrounds.
Guelph, and the rest of the country, while vote on Oct. 21, deciding whether to oust the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Locally, Longfield, who was acclaimed last year, seeks to hold on to a seat that has remained Liberal for over a quarter century.
More details to follow.
*Hannah Derue is the partner of Eli Ridder, one of the reporters that assisted with this story. The reporting has gone through the independent review of managing editor of The Post/ThatGuelph Rich Dias to verify that it follows the standards of impartial reporting.