COMMENTARY: Bernadette Clement may undermine up-and-coming SDSG Liberals

I’m Bill Kingston with today’s commentary. While I’m not surprised that Bernadette Clement wants to take another shot at the next level of political aspirations, the move will undermine how Liberals are trying to connect with voters. There are three people in SDSG looking to carry the Liberal banner into the Oct. 19 federal election. Patricia Pichette, Corey Kalsi and Clement.

Leader Justin Trudeau has tried to energize young voters to get involved in the political spectrum. Here in SDSG we have two energized younger individuals looking to be involved in the political process. I commend anybody who puts their name forward for political office – it’s not easy.

Make no mistake, Bernadette Clement is a great candidate. She’s well-liked, well connected, has political experience, is a champion for the downtrodden and fits the wheelhouse for a Liberal candidate.

But the major stumbling block is she is from Cornwall in a riding where traditionally the United Counties outweigh the city come Election Day. That was evident in the last election where Clement was crushed by Guy Lauzon – 18 per cent of the vote versus 62. Clearly the Clement-Lauzon formula didn’t work four years ago so what’s to say it will work now?

I would have liked to see Clement step aside for the sake of Pichette and Kalsi, two candidates from Ingleside and Williamstown – one is a small business owner, the other a teacher by profession.

They may stand a better chance of connecting with county voters. Both are in more grass roots professions – Joe Voter can relate to that. It’s a foregone conclusion that Clement will win the nomination. Will the younger candidates be discouraged from running again? It may just unravel everything at the local level that the Grit party is trying to do nationally.

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