MPP, city councillor team up for Liberals
Longtime Grit Ted McMeekin will run again in 2018; Coun. Judi Partridge eyes neighbouring riding
TED MCMEEKIN and Judi Partridge want to play on the same provincial Liberal team next year despite some notable political disagreements. Hamilton’s lone Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin ended more than a year of speculation about his political future Friday by announcing he would run for re-election in 2018.
The 69-year-old represents Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale now but will run next year in a new Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas riding created to mirror federal election borders.
At the same Friday event, Ward 15 Coun. Judi Partridge surprised some political observers by announcing she would seek the Liberal nomination in the new riding of Flamborough-Glanbrook.
“We’re doing a number of big things and I want to see them through,” said McMeekin, who acknowledged speculation he would retire from politics but
explained he wanted to see through “legacy projects” like the Randle Reef cleanup, poverty-fighting initiatives and the $1-billion light rail transit project planned for Main and King streets in Hamilton.
Partridge voted against that contentious, provincially funded LRT project at council and confirmed Friday she remains personally opposed. “I haven’t changed my stance … but it is council’s decision,” she said.
The Flamborough councillor also said she was “not entirely in support … on a broad scale” of the Liberal government’s controversial decision to sell off part of public utility Hydro One.
But Partridge added she does support the rationale for the decision on the “local scale” given the need to raise cash for major infrastructure projects — including Hamilton’s light rail plan. “You can’t be against hydro sell-off and for LRT because they really do go hand in hand,” she said.
Differences of opinion are not a deal-breaker, said the pro-LRT McMeekin. “It’s a big tent (party),” he said.
Partridge cheerfully labelled herself a “blue Liberal” Friday and noted she was also approached about a possible election run for the Progressive Conservatives. But she said her decision to run for the Liberal nomination came down to considering which party best reflected her “personal values.”
Partridge said she wants to work “from the inside” on provincial legislation that affects small business, farmers and other rural Hamiltonians. On hydro, she said she would push to allow rural Hamilton customers to be served by the new Horizon-turned-Alectra utility, rather than Hydro One.
While the Progressive Conservatives continue to lead in opinion polls, both McMeekin and Partridge expressed confidence in the governing party’s ability to bounce back.
McMeekin admitted Friday he previously considered leaving politics after battling cancer twice and voluntarily stepping down from cabinet in 2016 to encourage gender parity. The veteran politician has served as an MPP, mayor of Flamborough and city alderman dating back to 1977. But McMeekin said his health is good and he’s received a “thumbs up” on his decision to run again from his doctor, his wife Barbara and Premier Kathleen Wynne, whom he serves as a special parliamentary assistant. “I’ve just gotta do it,” he said.
Liberal nomination meetings for both ridings will happen in August.
The provincial election will be held in June of next year, with a municipal election following in the fall.
Partridge said if nominated, she intends to keep up her city council duties while campaigning for a provincial seat. She added if she is not elected provincially in June, she will run for municipal re-election.
McMeekin is expected to face off against Progressive Conservative candidate Ben Levitt, a constituency assistant for federal Conservative MP David Sweet.
Levitt’s nomination win is being contested by two losing candidates who have taken the political party to court, alleging irregularities and voter fraud.
Ted McMeekin and Judi Partridge announced Friday at Dyment’s market in Flamborough they will run for Liberals.
Ted McMeekin has served as a city councillor, mayor, MPP and cabinet minister during political career.