Gillis will run for Wynne’s Liberals in the next provincial election
She wouldn’t do it for Dalton McGuinty, but Sarnia City/County Councilor Anne Marie Gillis will carry the Liberal banner for the Kathleen Wynne government in the next provincial election.
Gillis was to be nominated as the party’s candidate Monday at the Sarnia-Lambton Liberal Association meeting. Gillis, who first became a city councilor in 2003, has served as a Catholic school board trustee and has run for the Liberal’s federally.
Gillis says she was first approached by Health Minister Deb Mathews to run for the Liberals in the last election. “There were certain things going on that the Dalton McGuinty Liberals were doing to our community that I could not run for them,” she says noting the McGuinty Liberals were closing Lambton Generating Station and the local jail putting hundreds out of work. “In the big scheme of things you might have a plan a vision but you’re really hurting my community.”
Gillis says she was then approached again . “Then the NDP approached me in December to run for them and I said ‘No, no; good or bad, I’m a Liberal.’”
Then during the leadership debate, Gillis got to know Kathleen Wynne better. Gillis had run into Wynne before during her days as a trustee and was impressed with her and her admiration grew during the leadership race. “Here is a person who listens to what the people are saying…she just doesn’t talk and forget about it.”
After the race, Wynne and Gillis kept in touch and the Sarnia councilor was eventually asked to run again. This time she said yes, even though the Liberals have made decisions which hurt the community. Gillis believes Wynne is different.
“I’ve seen change…she’s taking her lumps…rose above all of that moved everything forward and changed things 180 degrees despite all the naysayers. They said she wouldn’t get an agreement with the teachers; she wouldn’t stay in power more than three months…
“She has a way about her, she gets out there and she gets in your face. She is a woman of her word …she makes changes when they need to be made.”
Gillis says should she be elected she would work with in caucus to find new ways to create power at Lambton Generating Station and figure out how the Sarnia Jail could fit into the province’s correction system. Gillis believes the jail in its current condition needs upgrades. “That building needs to be renovated …that place needs a lot of work…to say that they have to save it in its present form…I don’t know.
“We need to recognize we have families that will be impacted…we don’t want to lose 200 more jobs out of the city and how can we make this all work.”
Gillis says the two big issues for her during the next provincial election (which has yet to be called) will be securing more funding for the demolition of the former Sarnia General Hospital and finding a way to create jobs by linking the community with Alberta’s oil sands. “Nova’s proposed expansion and all of those other projects that have been whispered about I want to make sure that they do come; keeping jobs in Sarnia-Lambton is the biggest priority all the way around. There are too many people going out west to work.
“We don’t want to become the Newfoundland of Ontario, that’s not fair to our people and it’s not fair to our community.”
– Heather Wright