Volume 12 Week 5

Wednesday, April 16


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(Posted 8:30 a.m., Dec. 16)
Local business woman wins Ottawa-Orléans provincial Liberal nomination

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Former Portobello Manor co-owner and operator Marie-France Lalonde has been selected by local Liberals to replace outgoing MPP Phil McNeely in the next provincial election. File photo

Local Liberals have chosen a successful business woman with a background in senior care to replace Liberal incumbent Phil McNeely in the next provincial election.

Marie-France Lalonde beat out Orléans native Andre Brisebois for the nomination during a meeting at Garneau High School on Saturday night.

Lalonde, 42, is the former CO-owner/operator of the Portobello Manor seniors residence in Fallingbrook and is currently the regional director for sales and marketing with All Seniors Care Living Centres in Eastern Ontario.

She entered the race just five short weeks ago after being encouraged to do so by a number of prominent local Liberals including McNeely himself who is retiring after 10 years in office.

Lalonde attributes her successful bid for the nomination to a large team of experienced volunteers who kept her on point during the short campaign.

The 42-year old talked to more than 300 voting members either in person or over the phone during the short campaign, often visiting up to 20 residences a night.

By nomination day, her team of volunteers had grown to more than 60 people including family and friends.

"We had people calling members. We had people offering to drive members to the meeting. It was really amazing. I can't thank everyone enough. I'm just very, very grateful for all their help and support," said Lalonde, who also acknowledged the hard work put in by Brisebois, who entered the race last spring and was the only candidate interested in the job until Lalonde threw her hat into the ring last month.

"André and I were friends before the nomination and we're still friends today. He ran an excellent campaign that was focused on the issues and I am confident I will be able to count on his support in the election."

The nomination meeting was prematurely interrupted by a fire alarm which forced the organizers to cancel Lalonde's acceptance speech in which she was going to thank her team of volunteers, acknowledge Brisebois, and thank McNeely for his 10 years of service as MPP/

"I feel very honoured to be nominated and to follow in the footsteps of Mr. McNeely. He has done so much for this community during his time in office and I want to continue his hard work," said Lalonde, who knows winning the nomination is just the beginning.

There is a great deal of speculation, fueled by a Liberal Party directive to hold local nomination meetings by the end of January, that the next provincial election will be held in the spring.

In order for Lalonde to hold on to the seat for the Liberals she will have to beat her Conservative opponent Andrew Lister who is running a second time after losing to McNeely in the last election.

To that end, Lalonde began going door-to-door to introduce herself to local residents on Sunday.

"Ottawa-Orléans is a big riding and I want to meet as many people as I can. I want to talk to them and get their ideas and understand what their priorities are," said Lalonde.

As for her own attributes, Lalonde possesses an abundance of energy, she has a history of working collaboratively with others as she proved while working with the Chamber of Commerce on economic development, and she is community oriented.

"I love this community and I want to help our community reach it's full potential. That is why I ran for the nomination and that is why I want to be the next MPP," said Lalonde.

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

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