Note: I had to write up this press release for the local media because I'm the Communications Coordinator for Betsy McGregor's campaign, so I thought I'd post it here, too. I think the event went really well. A huge number of people came out. I was serving punch at the start of the event and it was almost impossible to get punch to people because the halls were so crowded. - Ann
Martha Hall Findlay and Betsy McGregor
Wow Local Crowd with Talk of
Passion, Vision, And Party Renewal
Martha Hall Findlay, Liberal Platform Outreach Chair and Betsy McGregor, candidate for the Liberal nomination in Peterborough Riding, delivered an inspiring message of passion, vision, and party renewal to an enthusiastic local crowd in Peterborough Sunday afternoon.
Hall Findlay congratulated McGregor on her decision to seek the Liberal nomination in Peterborough Riding: "It's terrific that we now have three people running in this riding and that someone of your passion and intellect has decided to run."
She noted that the Liberal Party has been revitalized, coming out of Montreal. "The Liberal Party changed that Saturday in Montreal. We started looking forward — incredibly so."
Describing Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion as "an incredibly thoughtful, incredibly bright, incredibly hardworking man, Hall Findlay noted he is the kind of leader people can really be inspired by: "He has such character, integrity, and passion for this country."
Hall Findlay stressed that it will take work to get Canadians to re-engage in politics. "What I get to do — what we all get to do — is to further that re-engagement with all Canadians." She stressed it's a matter of getting out there and finding out what Canadians want for Canada: "And I don't mean some polling company. That big red bus resonated with people with the sheer fact of being asked what they thought."
McGregor kicked off her remarks to the crowd by talking about what it was like to grow up in a politically involved Peterborough family: how, as a young girl, she came downstairs as a young girl to find the Prime Minister at the time — Lester B. Pearson — standing in her family's living room.
"Oh Mr. Pearson," she declared. "I'm a Liberal!"
"I am, too!" the Prime Minister replied.
"We've moved from
Silent Spring to
— Betsy McGregor,
candidate for the
McGregor described the three key reasons why her "heart, intellect, and passion" have called her to run for the Liberal nomination in Peterborough Riding.
1. The Environment.
"Back when Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring our hearts stopped beating at the thought of no birds singing in spring," McGregor said. "Now we've moved from Silent Spring to snow-less winter." Peterborough will be by Dion's side when he moves on his environmental agenda, McGregor stressed. "We have the expertise represented by the DNA cluster. We have farmers challenging us to do something about this issue. And we have elegant technologies that can do more. They're poised; we're poised. Together we can move our environmental agenda with credibility."
"Peterborough Riding has the oldest mean age of any riding in this country, except for Victoria, BC. And I know first-hand how desperate the situation can become when you're trying to find appropriate care that allows you to provide dignity to the parents who provided that care and dignity to you. I'm also hearing from residents in this area how strongly they want action on the recommendations in Senator Kirby's report about mental health. That message needs to be heard, too."
3. Social Justice.
"There are 1500 homeless people in Peterborough. This is an issue that the people of Peterborough have started to recognize through initiatives such as the sale of a Peterborough board game to raise funds for housing, but local efforts must be tapped into national and international initiatives as well....When Lester B. Pearson spoke, the world listened. He had a vision of a generous and inclusive society — the kind of society that many of us here envision, and that the leaders of the Muslim community who sat here with me yesterday also envision."
Sylvia Sutherland, recently retired mayor of Peterborough, thanked both Hall Findlay and McGregor for their inspiring remarks. She noted that they both share an abundance of passion for "the Country and the issues." She also noted that the Liberal Party is being renewed in "the right way" by attracting "candidates of intelligence, passion, and commitment."
"People like Martha Hall Findlay
are an inspiration
to so many people -- including
so many young people --
and Betsy McGregor is the
most exciting thing to happen
to Peterborough in a
very long time."
— former Peterborough Mayor
"People like Martha Hall Findlay are an inspiration to so many people — including so many young people — and Betsy McGregor is the most exciting thing to happen to Peterborough in a very long time," said Sutherland.
Jon K. Grant, former President and CEO of the Quaker Oats Company of Canada, made a similar comment while introducing McGregor: "I'd been away from the Liberal Party for quite some time — until Betsy came along."
Grant recalled how well Peterborough was served under Liberal MPs Hugh Faulkner (1965-1979) and Peter Adams (1993-2006) and noted that Peterborough could expect the same kind of leadership from McGregor: "We have the opportunity to do the same thing again — to put someone in Ottawa who will make a real difference."
One of the members of the crowd of 75 who squeezed into McGregor's childhood home was heard to describe the event as "a barn raiser" — and that was certainly the prevailing sentiment: that a group of people had gathered to build something that hadn't been there before. Just like in Montreal.
Photo: Brian Desbiens, former President of Sir Sandford Fleming College in Peterborough; Martha Hall Findlay, Liberal Platform Outreach Chair; and Betsy McGregor, candidate for the Liberal Nomination in Peterborough Riding.
Update 1/8: The Peterborough Examiner has a brief news item about Martha Hall Finlay's appearance at the New Year's levee hosted by Diane Lloyd -- another candidate for the nomination in Peterborough Riding. | More about the local nomination process.