Liberals name candidate for Essex riding for next provincial election

 

Crystal Meloche (surrounded by her family) is the new Liberal nominee for the Essex riding in the next provincial election. (Submitted photo)

Crystal Meloche (surrounded by her family) is the new Liberal nominee for the Essex riding in the next provincial election. (Submitted photo)

By Ron Giofu

 

The provincial Liberals have their candidate to challenge Essex MPP Taras Natyshak and try to get the seat back for their party.

The Essex Provincial Riding Association has nominated Crystal Meloche to run against the NDP incumbent in the next Ontario election. The 33-year-old LaSalle town councillor officially received the party’s nomination last Thursday night.

“I’ve loved being on (LaSalle) town council,” she said. “It’s something I’ve enjoyed for the last 3-1/2 years.”

However, Meloche said she has discovered there are other issues that can’t be addressed by municipal government so, out of a desire to do more, she expressed interest when the Liberals first contacted her about being the party’s candidate last spring.

Meloche also believes the Liberals will be re-elected in the next provincial election and states it would be beneficial to have an MPP that is part of the government rather than in an opposition party.

“It makes it very hard to get things done for your constituents when you are not at the table,” she said.

While acknowledging there is not much difference in age between her and Natyshak (Natyshak is 36), she believes her relatively young age makes her an option for voters. She noted she shares the same concerns many residents have and knows economic conditions can still be better, noting she is seeing these issues through her role as a real estate agent as well. People still have trouble paying bills and paying for college and university, she stated.

Meloche said there is also a need to have “more women at the table” adding she shares concerns of other families as she has two children – ages seven and 10.

“I am a good representation of a demographic not being represented at Queen’s Park,” she said.

Getting name recognition outside of LaSalle will be something she has to do, Meloche stated, but plans on aggressively canvassing the riding whenever an election is called. She said she was one of 14 candidates that ran for LaSalle council in 2010 and was able to get elected.

“At that time, I was a no name then as well,” said Meloche. “I believe at one point, we were all no names.”

The Liberals, with Ken Schmidt as the candidate, finished third in the Essex riding in the 2011 provincial election and while Meloche praised Schmidt, she said she is a different candidate with a different personality and perspective. She is not campaigning provincially at the moment with no election call having been made, though, noting she is focused on her work as a LaSalle councillor.

“As of right now, we’re getting things in order and getting a team together,” she said, of her provincial candidacy.

Meloche’s goal once she hits the provincial campaign trail is to listen to voters and understand their needs and priorities. She said she wants to “get a grasp of their concerns” and to find out what voters want and what they are feeling.

The Progressive Conservatives currently do not have a candidate in the Essex riding with Dave Brister having been dismissed as a candidate by party leader Tim Hudak last month over his stance on the right-to-work issue.

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