By Chad Ingram
It was at least in part the rise of right-wing populism in North America during the past few years that urged Judi Forbes to make her foray into the political realm.
Referencing “the regressive policies and divisive politics that we have seen certainly south of the border and in certain provinces in Canada” Forbes the newly minted Liberal candidate for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock for the October federal election explains she decided it was time to put in her name on the ballot.
She first ran to be the regional councillor for Brock township during the 2018 municipal elections. While she didn’t win the seat “I feel I ran a good campaign” Forbes says adding she believes it was her municipal campaign that attracted the attention of the local Liberal riding association. She was acclaimed as the Liberal candidate during a nomination meeting in Lindsay in late June.
“I’ve always been interested in politics” Forbes says with the pressures of building a career and raising a family taking up most of her time until recent years.
Forbes’s career was in finance including positions as a senior bank manager largely in Toronto and southern Durham Region.
“I worked in a lot of different areas in finance in my career” she says.
Forbes who lived in the Don Mills area for 25 years retired to Lake Simcoe near Beaverton eight years ago and runs a bed and breakfast there. She holds a BA from McMaster University is the chairwoman of the board of a local nursing home sits on the Brock Board of Trade and in the past has volunteered with such organizations as Habitat for Humanity Engineers Without Borders the Oshawa Senior Citizens Centres Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and the Cancer Society.
Forbes has begun having conversations with residents of the constituency including some in Haliburton County.
“There is a lot of concern there about climate change and the devastating effects of it” she says referencing what has been becoming regular and severe spring flooding. She touts the Liberals’ climate change plan which includes the carbon pricing or “carbon tax” the Ford government has been fighting against and stresses that action on climate change comes down to changing individual behaviours.
Referencing the $71 million contribution the Trudeau government confirmed last week it would make to the Eastern Ontario Regional Network to greatly enhance cellular broadband connectivity throughout the area Forbes said it would be crucially important for local economic development.
“People are concerned about the lack of good jobs” she says adding “I’m tired of seeing young people have to move out of this riding to find good quality jobs.”
The $71 million contribution matches $71 million the provincial government approved for the project in its spring budget.
Increased connectivity will provide opportunities for start-ups in the riding.
“I think there’s so much potential to have green initiatives start up here” Forbes says. “Why can’t we have one of those start-ups happen here in this riding?”
She also believes the riding’s natural beauty could be better utilized to attract more visitors and businesses.
“I think there’s incredible opportunity that isn’t being leveraged here” she says.
Forbes also says the riding needs a stronger voice in Ottawa and one that will be part of the new government.
“I believe this riding needs to have a voice in Ottawa with the party that will be in power and I believe that party will be the Liberals.”
The Forbes campaign is seeking volunteers and anyone interested can call the campaign office at 705-702-4798 or visit www.liberal.ca to register.
Forbes will challenge incumbent Conservative MP Jamie Schmale along with NDP candidate Barbara Doyle in the Oct. 21 election.