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LETTER: Simcoe North Liberal Party 'has failed its constituents badly'

'Aaron Hiltz should be praised for stepping up' but running an 'inexperienced student with no name recognition and no track record' frustrates local Liberal
2022-03-29 Aaron Cayden Hiltz
Aaron Cayden Hiltz is seeking the nomination to run for the Liberals in Simcoe North in the provincial election.

MidlandToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). This letter is in response to a March 29 story entitled Lakehead Orillia student seeking Liberal nomination in Simcoe North.

Dear Editor,

In 2018, the Ontario Liberal Party suffered a painful and humiliating defeat. Four years later, Simcoe North’s pick for Liberal candidate proves the party has learned nothing from their mistakes.

Simcoe North is a Conservative stronghold. The seat has been occupied by a Conservative since it was created in 1999. It’s clear that a candidate from any other party will have a tough time winning this riding. This fact makes this election’s Liberal nomination astounding.

2018 saw the Ontario Liberal Party lose its official party status, as the party’s popularity dropped below 20 per cent. Ontario forcefully rejected Kathleen Wynne’s approach to fiscal policy. Following such a catastrophic loss, you’d think that the party would take a step back, re-evaluate, and change tack. Instead, Simcoe North’s answer to calls for fiscal restraint – a young student, with little in the way of work experience, and a background in student politics. Are you kidding me?

Let me be clear, Aaron Cayden Hiltz should be praised for stepping up and running. He is the only candidate to meet the requirements and therefore deserves the opportunity. But it is clear from the lack of credible candidates that the Simcoe North Provincial Liberal Association (PLA) has failed its constituents badly.

If Simcoe North ever stood a chance at going Liberal, it was following a pandemic that has highlighted the potential impact of Progressive Conservative policies on hardworking Ontarians. Any experienced Liberal candidate would have roasted Jill Dunlop, forcing her to own the Progressive Conservatives’ original half-baked plans to shake up health care, reduce public health funding and move to online teaching based on what we now know post-COVID. This is clearly not the job for a student union director.

Sadly, the local PLA has bungled the nomination process so badly that this inexperienced student with no name recognition and no track record is Simcoe North’s Liberal pick. Even ardent Liberals will struggle to support this guy, who appears to be more of a sacrificial lamb than a realistic political rival to Dunlop. He is set to be cannon fodder and the PLA seems happy to watch him get blown out of the water.

2022 should have been an opportunity for the Ontario Liberal Party to demonstrate that they have learned the lessons from 2018. With a ‘new’ leader who served in Wynne’s cabinet and candidates like Hiltz, it’s clear that they are still clueless when it comes to gauging public mood. As a Liberal, I’ll be voting to give them another four-year time-out.

As a Liberal in Simcoe North, it is patently clear that centrism is the only path to victory going forward. We need sensible, experienced, fiscally responsible candidates, with strong social values. Following COVID, the public is looking for stability, not a radical swing to the left and not a dramatic shift to the right. If the Simcoe North PLA can’t deliver a candidate in that vein, they should be replaced by people who can.

Frank McLean