Eager to hit the trail
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
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.”