Impartial Analysis

The local New Democratic Party will be making a choice on Saturday between two candidates — longtime policy activist Andy McCann-Pappin and working class nurse Aisha Jahangir — that will determine the future of the party heading into a federal election where, for the first time in several elections, the leftist party could drop to fourth place.

(L) Aisha Jahangir, (R) Andy McCann-Pappin

Both candidates sat down with The Post for extensive interviews where they each explained why they would make the best candidate for the New Democrats heading into what will be a competitive local campaign this fall. McCann-Pappin talked about his activism and experience with the party while Jahangir focused on her working-class identity and her efforts to empower the downtrodden.

Members of the New Democrats will be making a choice that will define the outcome of this election for the party locally but also could have an impact for the future. As for which way the vote could go, it’s usually not clear at this stage. Both candidates have told The Post they have been calling up the list of members but some nomination races are decided by the speeches made the day of voting.

If there was an establishment candidate, it could be marked as McCann-Pappin as he has been active with the party in Guelph for some five years and served on every major campaign. He also was a manager for the re-election campaign of former NDP candidate Coun. James Gordon last year — successfully bringing him back to Council in an expected win.

But do so-called establishment candidates have an edge? Not recently with this riding association. Last year, the New Democrats chose Agnieszka Mlynarz as their candidate for the provincial election, bypassing two older men with more experience campaigning and a history with the party, including now Upper Grand District School Board trustee Mike Foley.

It would not be a surprise if Jahangir won either, however, as there are several in the party that are backing her, The Post was told. She has emphasized her experience in union leadership and pointed to her record of caring about people through her work in healthcare. She also ran for trustee in Ward 6 during the 2018 municipal election.

Members of the party have told The Post that they will be looking at electability, values and integrity for their candidate. However, in a campaign where they will be up against one of the strongest incumbents in Guelph history — albeit of a poll-dropping party — and one or two others that are going fighting for first place, they may also look for someone that can stand out.

The New Democrat members will make their choice during a nomination meeting starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Evergreen Seniors Centre. Only those that have been a party member for at least 30 days are allowed to vote during the process. The Post will be live and on-scene to cover the event.