It may have took three ballot votes, but in the end Terence Kernaghan beat Ward 13 Councillor Tanya Park to become the provincial NDP candidate for London North Centre.
Leader of the Ontario NDP, Andrea Horwath, joined nearly 200 NDP members in a packed Royal Canadian Legion Branch 317 Sunday, to cast their votes.
Shane Clarke, Amanda Stratton, Tanya Park and Terence Kernaghan all awaited eagerly to find out who would lead the NDP in their riding. In the end, only Kernaghan remained.
“For too long, we here in London have had Toronto-first polices, but now, I’d like to focus on London first,” said Kernaghan.
Kernaghan has worked with the NDP in London West and sits on the executive of the Thames Valley Teacher Local for the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario. According to Kernaghan, he is also the first openly homosexual candidate in London.
“You know, London has this reputation for being an extremely conservative town, but I don’t think that’s true. I think this town is full of very open, very accepting, and ultimately fun-loving people,” said Kernaghan.
When Deb Matthews announced she would not be running again for the London North Centre seat, it was clear that the race became wide open.
“I always knew London-North-Centre was ready for an orange change. I’m already seeing people jumping all over our policies, and now I’m ready to go out and do what’s best for Londoners,” said Kernaghan.
“For me, the one thing I really want to bring here is change for students. Right now the funding model is based on 1997 numbers, and with so many kids slipping through the cracks, it’s clear to me we need to focus on improvements.”
In his nomination speech, Kernaghan vowed that he would take an unpaid leave of absence from teaching to focus solely on his election. When asked whether or not the sacrifice is worth it, Kernaghan told 980 CFPL that while he will miss teaching, he wants nothing more than to bring positive change for Londoners and the province.