Rafferty pledges to deliver

FORT FRANCES—Local NDP members acclaimed John Rafferty on Thursday night as their candidate in the next federal election.
Two more nomination meetings will be held—one in Atikokan on Friday night and another in Thunder Bay on Sunday—to complete the process and declare Rafferty the official candidate for the party in Thunder Bay-Rainy River.
Thursday night’s meeting was held at the East End Hall here, where about 20 party members and supporters turned out.
“This is the year we take back Northwestern Ontario,” Rafferty said to applause following his acclamation. “It’s time we took our rightful place in Canada as northerners.”
Rafferty praised the people of Rainy River District for their ability to band together for the common good, citing the examples of raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in just a few months for a new theatre, sports complex, and now a CT Scanner.
“That’s what northerners are like. We should be pretty proud of that,” he remarked.
Rafferty also said the north needs job security, sustainable industries, and fairness.
“I promise you—I will deliver,” he pledged.
Mike Mosley, vice-president for the Thunder Bay-Rainy River riding association (west), ran the meeting and first invited Ontario NDP leader and local MPP Howard Hampton to say a few words.
Hampton noted Rafferty ran a strong campaign against Liberal MP Ken Boshcoff during last year’s election—and that he stood a good chance of winning the next one.
“We did very well in the federal election held a year ago. I think if the election had gone on three or four more days, John Rafferty would have won,” Hampton said.
“Just counting votes from election day, John Rafferty won the election,” he added. “He didn’t win with the ‘snowbirds.’”
Hampton also praised Rafferty’s efforts to travel across the riding, getting to know the people and their issues.
“He’s proven he’s willing to do the work. You’d almost think he is our member of Parliament,” he said.
Following Hampton’s address, Mosley invited members to nominate and second their one declared candidate.
NDP rules regarding nominations have changed in the last year. Previously, people could be nominated from the floor of the meeting.
Now, people must declare their intention to run at least seven days before the first nomination meeting.
Hampton also will attend Friday night’s nomination meeting in Atikokan while federal NDP leader Jack Layton will be at the one Sunday at the Da Vinci Centre in Thunder Bay.