Volume 12 Week 5

Wednesday, Nov. 21


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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney


(Posted 7:30 a.m., Nov. 21)
Local Liberals to chose provincial nominee on Dec. 14

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Marie-France Lalonde and Andre Brisebois are both in the running for the local Liberal nomination in the next provincial election. File photo

Local Ontario Liberal Party supporters are being called upon to pick a potential successor to incumbent MPP Phil McNeely in the next provincial election.

McNeely announced he wouldn't be running again last fall after 10 years in office. That touched off a great deal of speculation as to who would be willing to tale his place as the local Liberal candidate in the next election.

The first person to step forward was Andre Brisebois, 32. The life-long resident of Orléans and federal Liberal Party worker expressed his interest in seeking the nomination last spring. Up until two weeks ago he was the only candidate until Marie-France Lalonde threw her hat into the ring.

The local business woman is the former co-owner/operator of the Portobello Manor seniors residence in Fallingbrook and an active member of the Orleans Chamber of Commerce on economic development issues.

With speculation about a possible spring election running rampant, the Liberal Party has directed all riding associations to hold their nomination meetings by early January.

The Ottawa-Orléans Riding Association has scheduled its nomination meeting on Dec. 14. That only gives the candidates less than 10 days to sign up new members before the Nov. 30 cutoff date and less than four weeks to convince members to come out to the meeting and support them.

Lalonde, 42, was born in Ottawa, but grew up in Gatineau. She moved to Orleans in her late 20s and has lived in the community for the past 14 years.

After starting out as a social worker with the Children's Aid Society, Lalonde worked at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the Ottawa Hospital before pursuing a career in senior care.

She worked at the Queenswood Villa for several years and in 2008 opened the Portobello Manor with a group of partners. After selling the business to Regal Lifestyle Communities in November 2012, Lalonde joined All Seniors Care Living Centres as the regional director for sales and marketing in Eastern Ontario.

After graduating from ecole secondaire Garneau, Brisebois attended the University of Ottawa. He helped found the youth group SKETCH Orleans in 2009 and worked on several Liberal election campaigns both for Marc Godbout and Phil McNeely.

He threw his hat into the ring for the nomination because of the current state of politics which he feels is lacking.

"The whole state of politics right now, especially in terms of the level of cynicism that exists out there right now, is quite frankly pretty disappointing," says Brisebois. "I want to change that. I want to work with people in bringing forward this community's true potential."

As for his age, Brisebois believes it's a non-factor.

"I am the same age as (Cumberand Coun.) Stephen Blais and four years older than (Rideau-Vanier Coun.) Mathieu Fleury. I've lived in this community all my life. In fact you could say we've both grown up and evolved together."

Lalonde is equally passionate about the community, but she comes at it from more of a business aspect. If elected her number one priority would be economic development which she has focused on as a member of the Orleans Chamber of Commerce and the Women's Business Network for the past five plus years.

"I believe very strongly in taking a collaborative approach to finding solutions and building communities. You know the phrase 'together we are stronger', it's very true and I want to prove that," says Lalonde who at various times has been a member of the Rotary Club of Orléans, the Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre's board of directors, the Équipe de santé familiale de l'Est d'Ottawa, and vice-president of the Ottawa chapter of CARP.

"I want people to know that I will bring a collaborative approach to the job. I have a good business approach. I am very focused on the community and I am not afraid of working hard."

Brisebois has been active in the community as well. He is the chair of the community development committee with the Caisse Populaire Trillium, he has been a member of the Orléans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre since 2007, and he has been actively involved in a francophone provincial organization that acts as a cooperative business lobby.

"I've been a strong community activist for most of my adult life," says Brisebois. "I know when to speak up and when to fight for the community, and at the same time I know how to bring people together and listen to their needs and wants and work on their behalf to make it happen. I want to be an enabler and a facilitator and show people what you can do when people work together to build something truly special."

Both candidates believe Kathleen Wynne gives the Liberal Party the best chance to win the next election and they both dearly want to be a part of the Liberal team moving forward.

The key to winning any nomination race is convincing party members to first come to the meeting and then vote for you. One way to do that is to reach out to existing members. The other is to sign up new members. Brisebois has had a six month head start in that department and says he's managed to sell over 80 new memberships.

While Lalonde acknowledges Brisebois had a head start, she's confident her team, which includes honourary co-chairs Gerry Poulin and Ed Campbell, will be able to close the gap.

"In the last two weeks since I've launched my campaign, we've been very active in organizing meet and greets and trying to reach out to every single member either in person or by phone.

Both candidates have their own webste and Facebook page. You can learn more about Andre Brisebois at www.andre-orleans.ca or https://www.facebook.com/events/449299598525744/. To learn more about Marie-France Lalonde visit https://www.facebook.com/LalondeMF.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

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