I do not know what role, if any, local or national politics played in Stephen Maynard handing his nomination aspirations to Megan Walker Thursday. Frankly, if it was anything other than the class act it appears to be, I don’t want to know.
There were 200-plus NDippers at the Wolf Hall of the London Library, many members having been signed up by Stephen, who ran in the riding during last January’s election. Party rules prevented Walker, who declared her nomination intentions just a week ago, from selling memberships leading up to the meeting.
“I am young and have less formal experience,” Stephen said, as reported here in Friday’s London Free Press.
“Will people take me seriously? Potential may not be enough this time (and) we need a candidate with power to win,” he said, who ran for the NDP in the riding in the last federal election.
“I fear my perceived inexperience as a candidate won’t be accepted by voters. It’s not my turn yet. It’s your turn, Megan.”
Later, Maynard said the only person he told about his decision was Walker, at a coin toss earlier in the evening to determine speaking order for the nomination meeting.
“I was as surprised as everyone else” (about Stephen’s withdrawal), Walker told the crowd as she began to deliver what she had planned to be her nomination contest speech, much of it aimed at Conservative Dianne Haskett, someone with whom she shared many differences of opinion while the two were on city council.
Haskett came back to London last week, from a Republican Party job in Washington, to run for the Theo-Con Harporites and – in what may be a publicity stunt whose bite returns – she held up her new apartment lease at her nomination meeting on Tuesday.
Walker: “London-North-Centre isn’t the London parachute club. (The riding) is not here for you to drop in when you need a job.
“Dianne, I hope the new lease you signed on your apartment has a one-month expiry date, because you’re going to need it.
Walker had words for Green Party leader Elizabeth May, too.
“London-North-Centre is not rent-a-riding to be used and discarded. Real people with real problems live here.”
The Liberals’ nomination meeting is Sunday.
“(They) just don’t know who will lead them, or who they will follow. Well, London-North-Centre deserves a hell of a lot better than that,” Walker said.
Walker named health care, education, equality, the environment, housing and the war in Afghanistan as big issues in the by-election.
“We need to bring our troops home, and not in caskets. Canadians don’t even know why we’re in Afghanistan,” she said.
“We have to work as hard as we can because Dianne Haskett needs to be stopped and sent back to Washington.”