Ea­ger to hit the trail

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - News

BY AN­GELA BROWN

Staff The new Lib­eral can­di­date in the fed­eral rid­ing of Glen­gar­ryPrescott-Rus­sell is chuffed af­ter win­ning the nom­i­na­tion and looks for­ward to the cam­paign aimed at un­seat­ing Con­ser­va­tive MP Pierre Lemieux.

“It was ex­cit­ing,” said Fran­cis (Frank) Drouin. “As I tell so many peo­ple, I’ve only won the right to work harder,” added the 31- year- old Hawkes­bury res­i­dent who won the nod af­ter be­ing nom­i­nated by GPR MPP Grant Crack, of Alexandria.

Mr. Drouin, who de­feated Estelle Pate­naude and Jac­ques Taille­fer at the St-Isi­dore nom­i­na­tion meet­ing, ex­pects the next fed­eral elec­tion will be set for Oc­to­ber 19, although some fore­cast­ers are Spring elec­tion.

“I have been in­volved in the back­ground of pol­i­tics,” he said. “I have never been in­volved di­rectly as a politi­cian my­self ... but I have been fol­low­ing pol­i­tics very closely.”

He ob­served: “Run­ning in pol­i­tics is nice, but you have to bring some­thing to the ta­ble. You have to be mo­ti­vated. There has to be a rea­son you want to throw your hat in the ring.”

A few years ago dur­ing din­ner with friends, he no­ticed none of them lived in the rid­ing. While it can be dif­fi­cult to re­tain young peo­ple in GPR, he wor­ries what the re­gion will be like in 20 years with so many young peo­ple leav­ing.

He hopes gov­ern­ment pol­icy will en­cour­age peo­ple to stay in

pre­dict­ing

a ru­ral set­tings, ar­gu­ing there should be well-pay­ing jobs avail­able for them.

“I don’t agree with the de­ci­sions the Harper gov­ern­ment is mak­ing,” he added, say­ing the pro­posed in­come split­ting plan is a bad idea when the econ­omy is weak. He be­lieves this plan only ben­e­fits the 15 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion who have high in­comes and “don’t nec­es­sar­ily need help or a tax break.”

Mr. Drouin wants to pro­tect farm­ers, re­lat­ing that he sup­ports the cur­rent sup­ply man­age­ment sys­tem that en­sures rea­son­able prices for con­sumers and fair re­turns for pro­duc­ers.

“It is not only es­sen­tial to our farm­ers but it pro­vides food se­cu­rity to ev­ery­body in Canada,” he said.

Mr. Drouin will meet or­ga­niza- tions, farm­ers, and en­trepreneur­s and will “try to get a sense of what is miss­ing and what we can do to help Glen­gar­ryPrescott- Rus­sell.” His plans in­clude Glen­garry where fed­eral Lib­er­als “haven’t gone in a long time.”

Mr. Drouin had worked as a spe­cial as­sis­tant in the con­stituency of­fice of the then On­tario Premier Dal­ton McGuinty for four years un­til 2008 when he be­came a gov­ern­ment re­la­tions con­sul­tant.

He vol­un­teered to help Julie Bour­geois in her 2011 fed­eral cam­paign and was Mr. Crack’s cam­paign man­ager in the 2014 pro­vin­cial elec­tion.

Af­ter get­ting this taste of po­lit­i­cal cam­paign­ing, he en­joyed the ex­pe­ri­ence: “You know you can com­plain or throw your hat in the ring and hope for the best.”

Cur­rently work­ing with a public re­la­tions firm in Ot­tawa, Mr. Drouin is mov­ing to Rock­land in March in or­der to shorten his com­mute and to give him more time to “go knock on doors.”

Pres­i­dent of the Young Lib­er­als of GPR from 2002 to 2004, Mr. Drouin comes from a prom­i­nent Hawkes­bury po­lit­i­cal fam­ily.

His fa­ther, Yves Drouin, was mayor from 1988 to 1995 af­ter start­ing as coun­cil­lor in 1980. His grand­fa­ther, the late JeanClaude Drouin, was mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil­lor for 41 years un­til 1994.

“Some kids talk about hockey at the din­ner ta­ble but my dad and I would of­ten talk about pol­i­tics,” he said. “It is some­thing that al­ways in­ter­ested me.”

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