Keenan encourages public involvement, less divisiveness


By Ron Giofu


After fighting for fairer hydro costs and even meeting with then-Premier Kathleen Wynne, Libby Keenan is now looking to get into provincial politics.

Keenan is one of the 14 candidates for councillor in the Oct. 22 municipal election. She gained prominence due to her online posts about hydro, with that eventually resulting in a meeting with Wynne. Keenan notes she is an administrator of a “Take Back Your Power” Facebook page.

“I think I ended up with substantial influence over the dismissal of Ms. Wynne,” she said.

Keenan said she was asked by some to seek an MPP position but said Essex MPP Taras Natyshak and Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky are “pretty entrenched.” She found no reason to do it anyway. She said she gets along with Natyshak, though she was involved with PC candidate Chris Lewis’ campaign.

Keenan stated she likes that municipal politics is less partisan and more “grassroots.”

“I’m from Brampton but I love Amherstburg. This is home now and it has been for 30 years,” she said.

The issue of rebranding is one that Keenan hopes many people get involved with. She believes it is more than just image, but a matter of what people want the town to be. Citing Brampton as an example, it used to be a small municipality but now has “miles and miles of urban sprawl.” Keenan prefers Amherstburg to remain a mix of rural and urban.

“I think we have to decide what it is we want,” she said. “Yes, you want development but not at the cost of the natural environment around you.”

Libby Keenan is seeking a position as a town councillor in the Oct. 22
municipal election.

Amherstburg should be marketed better, Keenan believes, as the town is not known well enough across the province. She believes someone should be appointed or hired to better market the town and attend travel conventions, events and form stronger partnerships with other municipalities.

“It needs to be marketed,” said Keenan. “It’s here but it’s a bit of a secret, even now, after all this time.”

Belle Vue, Keenan stated, could be a “huge money pit” or a great benefit, depending on how it is used. She said a historic building in Brampton is popular for weddings, dances and similar events and she thinks Belle Vue could be too.

“It has to be very clearly defined what the goals are,” she said of Belle Vue. “There has to be very close oversight on the business plan for Belle Vue.”

The development of the Duffy’s site was another issue she addressed, and Keenan wonders if it will require a customs office to accommodate U.S. boaters.

Issues in the rural areas of Amherstburg need addressing, said Keenan, and not just the urban area. She is an advocate of putting a pool at the Libro Centre.

With the OCPC rendering its decision on the police issue, Keenan said “we have to give it a chance” though she also believes policing “could be the first domino.

“I’m not fear-mongering,” she said. “I’ve seen it happen.”

Keenan said, if elected, she would rely on the expertise of administration and wants to form a good relationship with them. She said they know what can be done and what can’t be done and that money and time could be saved by pursuing initiatives recommended by administration.

Keenan, a local horse farmer with a degree in social work from York University, said “there is so much to offer here” and that people should not be afraid to brainstorm ideas.

“It’s not a matter of mowing down the other point of view,” she said. “That’s no way to live.”

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