Ottawa-Vanier MPP Madeleine Meilleur has announced that she’s stepping down. She said that she wants to spend more time with her family. Naturally, after the announcement, speculation began. The Citizen’s David Reevely suggested:
Eyes would naturally turn to Mathieu Fleury, Tim Tierney, Marc Aubin and Catherine Fortin Lefebvre as conceivably interested successors.
— David Reevely (@davidreevely) June 9, 2016
CBC’s Joanne Chianello responded:
Maybe Emilie Taman? https://t.co/q3v3lHmnXQ
— Joanne Chianello (@jchianello) June 9, 2016
@davidreevely lucille collard is the French public school trustee. I’d put her on the list.
— Rob Schmidt (@rjeschmi) June 10, 2016
So, what the hell, let’s start speculating, starting with Reevely’s suggestions:
Mathieu Fleury: This is the pretty obvious choice. It’s long been speculated that Fleury had bigger things in mind. He’s considered a popular among area Liberals. And he’s young, but he’s got some good experience from being councillor.
Tim Tierney: This isn’t the first time Reevely has suggested Tierney might be looking to jump up a level in politics. A few months ago, he floated Tierney as a possible or likely replacement for Ottawa-Vanier MP Mauril Belanger (sadly, Belanger’s health means that a federal by-election will be coming). Tierney, a former community activist and second-term councillor certainly should have the name-recognition, the network and the work ethic to challenge for the seat. The question might be whether he wants it.
Tierney is pretty deep into municipal politics. Beyond his pre-political activities, he’s quite active with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Granted, those connections could be useful for long-term political aspirations, but it sure seems like he wants to be working on city issues.
Marc Aubin: Aubin looked like a really strong candidate in the last municipal election. He was, basically, chosen by community organizers to challenge Fleury in Rideau-Vanier. He had a long and seemingly well-organized campaign, but all that won him was
third a distant second place [oops]. He was strong in Sandy Hill, but didn’t have much support in Vanier. One of his weaknesses was language. He didn’t quite connect with the francophone population, and that’s pretty important in Ottawa-Vanier.
Aubin has been pretty quiet since the election, and, certainly, no one can blame him, but it will be difficult to try to ratchet up his support if he decides to make a run at the nomination. Certainly, if someone like Fleury offers up his name, Aubin’s chances of victory would be slim.
Cat Fortin LeFaivre: Fortin LeFaivre, or CFL for short, also challenged Fleury in the last election. She launched her campaign after Aubin, and didn’t have the organized support, but Fortin LeFaivre was able to
outpace almost catch Aubin, coming in second third (but still not really close to challenging Fleury).
Fortin LeFaivre was impressive in that campaign, and she has kept on working in the community, being quite active working on issues affecting lower income residents. The question still might be whether or not she has the network. Her roots in the area aren’t quite as deep as other candidates, but she at least is starting with a bit of name recognition.
(I wrote about CFL during the municipal election.)
Let’s move on to Chianello’s suggestion:
Emilie Taman: Taman was the NDP candidate in the last election, and, perhaps, she’s in line for the nomination again (I don’t claim to have any inside knowledge of the parties, unless I’ve heard rumours). She’s remained in the public sphere as the main protagonist for Bookmark The Core, a local activist group working to keep a library location (and, specifically, the new central branch) downtown. She also gained some notoriety after Tierney kind of blew up at her on CFRA. (Tierney apologized, and Taman graciously accepted, so that’s old news…but it did up the spotlight on her and Bookmark the Core a little bit).
I have no idea if an NDP candidate has much of a chance, especially without a strong leader. This seems like Liberal territory.
Lucille Collard: I recognize her name, which is pretty good for a school board trustee, but really couldn’t tell you any more about her. However, you can win some allegiances as a trustee, you have a track record, a network and the makings of a campaign team. So, that’s really not a bad starting point. But I’ve got nothing more.
Now, this speculation has a brought a couple other names to mind…
Tobi Nussbaum: If we’re going to start throwing around city councillors, might as well include Nussbaum. He’s made a name for himself very quickly. He can clearly handle the back-and-forth of campaigning. He has the makings of a team. It might, however, make more sense to peg him for pursuing the eventual federal vacancy. That would jibe with his background. He also has some prominent friends that could help raise his profile.
…but, I think it’s a little premature to assume he wants to move on from municipal politics. It certainly makes sense to think he might have higher ambitions (though city politics are quite important, too), but he also has a passion for city building. It’s clear when you talk to him about the zoning or transit. He has a love of cities and a deep appreciation for the works of Jane Jacobs. He really seems like he’d be a great mayoral candidate.
Jevone Nicholas: (At this point, I should probably note that I don’t know where everyone lives, I’m just kind of going by city wards.) Nicholas put on a good showing in the race in Rideau-Rockliffe, though losing fairly handily to Nussbaum. Though I thought Nussbuam was the best choice, I felt Nicholas would be another strong choice.
It was pointed out during the campaign (possibly by Chianello? I can’t really remember), that Nicholas had a good team and good campaign organization. This would be a solid help if he were to launch a campaign. He, too, has been rather prominent in working with Bookmark The Core, so he’s still out there working in the community.
So, what can I tell you for certain? Absolutely nothing. I’m not a reporter. I don’t have a wide network to tap into. I have a few contacts (and, to be honest, I am reaching out to see what I can learn), but not many. Everything I’ve offered here is conjecture, sadly. I don’t really know who’s going to run, who’s likely to win and, if it’s a current councillor, who’s likely to replace them.
…But if I do learn anything I can share, I’ll be sure to let y’all know.
[Update: I totes forgot the order of finish in Rideau-Vanier, sorry. I’ve made the corrections.]