Two days before the provincial election, Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke incumbent John Yakabuski describes himself as “always cautious, but optimistic.”
“Every campaign is unique – we’re all four years older, the issues change and the candidates are different,” he says, but in this campaign, there have been no surprises, at least locally.
Yakabuski has talked to constituents across the riding and has heard what concerns them most.
The person with elderly parents wants to see improvements in long-term health care. The thirty-something commuter wants to see extension of the 417. What I hear overwhelmingly, however, is still concern over the cost of hydro.
“I don’t determine what issues are important or what the greatest needs are in Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke,” he adds, “that comes from the constituents themselves.”
Yakabuski dismisses the criticism that the Ford campaign has failed to release a platform like the Liberals or the NDP: “Every time we released an initiative, it was costed. It just wasn’t a glossy document.” He points out that anyone can put out a costed platform and get someone to approve it, but doing so doesn’t take into consideration the economic realities when a party gets elected, forms a government and actually gets access to the books.
As for the Ford family financial feud that has recently been reported, Yakabuski suggests that this is not a surprise to insiders in the PC party. “Everyone has known that they’ve been threatening to go public for some time. It is well-known that she has issues, but that’s the nature of the legal system: anyone can sue anyone for anything.”
Yakabuski says he was “dumbfounded” by Premier Wynne’s statement that she would not be Premier in the next government while encouraging the electorate to vote Liberal. “Liberal candidates are putting on brave faces,” he says, “but if I were a candidate and my leader — especially a sitting Premier — were to do this, I’d be disappointed. That’s telling everyone you’re conceding defeat.”
As Election Day draws near, John Yakabuski, who has won four previous elections, is placing his trust in the electors of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke.
I have been serving this riding to the best of my ability for almost fifteen years, and I have built up a genuine trust with the constituents. The people of this riding are not the type to forget you if you have been doing the job right.