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Meet the known fringe candidates running in Guelph

The Guelph electoral district has a number of fringes candidates running in the provincial election

Outside of the four major party candidates vying for control of the Guelph riding in the current provincial election, several fringe parties have announced their bids to run.

As of May 4, three parties outside of the big four have announced a candidate running in Guelph, however, more may announce their candidacy as Elections Ontario is giving Candidates until 2 p.m. on May 12 to submit their official paperwork and intention to run.

Paul Taylor will be once again the candidate for the None of the Above Party, having also run in the 2018 Ontario general election, securing a total of 358 votes.

A single father of one, Taylor said he has worked all his life in laborious work.

“For example, when I was younger, I worked as a truck driver for Canadian Tire and would hand unload tractor-trailer loads. I would often suffer work injuries with little recognition,” said Taylor. ”When I was younger, I was raised with the misconception that if you worked hard, you would get ahead in life. That is just a vicious rumour spread by the lazy people who never work for a living – politicians.”

The None of the Above party was founded in 2014, aims to elect independent MPPs who are not bound by party control and who can represent their constituents first.

"I decided to run for the none of the Above Party because they represent the values I believe in which is [the] accountability of our politicians,” said Taylor.

He originally got involved in the world of politics when he went to Liz Sandals, the former MPP for Guelph, to ask her for help for the local injured worker group he was starting. 

“She refused to talk to me. Her office said because she said I was suing the government,” said Taylor. “To me, a representative must represent everyone. Whether workers, injured workers, business small owners, minorities, women everyone! They should never pick and choose who they want to help."

As for his motivation when it comes to representing a fringe party, Taylor said he believes Guelph is a city that needs real help, but most of all a real voice, one that won't stop until Guelph gets what it needs and wants.

“If you care about Guelph, you have to be loud and proud,” he said.

With candidates running in the first election since its founding in 2020, the New Blue Party of Ontario will see Will Lomker as the New Blue candidate for Guelph.

“My focus has been on operating my family’s business with my brother, trying to be a good husband and father to my wife and four children, and serving the people around me in my free time,” said Lomker.

According to the New Blue party platform, if elected the party will fight to end all COVID mandates, defund the establishment media and promote a free press, cut the HST from 13 per cent to 10 per cent, axe the Doug Ford carbon tax and restore dignity and transparency to our healthcare by expanding early treatment for COVID-19 and clearing the backlog of procedures by rehiring healthcare workers and offering choice in services.

Lomker currently resides in Halton Hills and said if elected into the Guelph riding he would stand with New Blue motivated to carry this torch in Guelph and lead the charge.

“In Guelph, I have heard voices from around the city repeat the same question, “who can I vote for?” A growing number of people have expressed distrust of the four mainstream parties and see them as the same dish served at different temperatures,” said Lomker. 

As a new party vying in its first election cycle, Lomker recognized the party has some ground to make up against the long-standing established parties Ontarians have seen at the polls. 

"Building awareness around our principles and platform will certainly be our local team’s biggest challenge,” said Lomker. “Gatekeepers of public discourse have consciously limited our contact with potential voters, and appear poised to continue to do so.”

The third known fringe candidate is Juanita Burnett who will once again be representing the Communist Party of Ontario.

Burnett has been involved in numerous political campaigns at both the provincial and federal levels.

Brunett ran in the 2019 federal election as the Guelph electoral district candidate for the Communist Party of Canada.

Provincially, Burnett has run as the candidate for the Communist Party of Ontario in the 2014 and 2018 Ontario general elections. In 2014 Burnett secured 178 votes and in 2018 she received 109 votes.

"We need a government that works for the people, not for the profit of corporations and businesses. It's become more and more obvious to people that capitalism does not 'work for workers'. Public service workers and other 'heroes' of the pandemic, are struggling to cover rent, stay healthy with no real supports, and are still stuck with Bill 124 and its anti-worker policies," said Burnett.

Her involvement in politics began over 25 years ago. She realized that childcare was an issue, and that first mobilized her.

"Mike Harris was going to take away subsidized day care spots just after my three-year-old son and I moved here to go to the university," said Burnett. "We managed to stop that from happening, but here we still are, with Doug Ford coming late to sign on to the $10 a day plan, but with no plan nor budget to make that happen."

In 1994 Burnett moved to Guelph to study at the University of Guelph, graduating in 1996 with an associate diploma in agriculture - horticulture followed by an honours BA in sociology in 1999.

Since then, Burnett has been working at the library for over 12 years.

"I'm active at my union (CUPE 1334) and am second VP at the Guelph and District Labour Council," said Burnett. "I've been active politically for at least the last 20 years, a regular at Breezy Breakfasts, and rarely go anywhere without running into someone I know. I've lived in Guelph longer than I've lived anywhere - it's my home."

Noting the party has been growing, the biggest challenge for Burnett in this election will be getting the message out to as many people as possible.

"People seem much more open to hearing a socialist perspective than ever before," said Burnett.

"I grew up in poverty, and still am living there," said Burnett. "I'm grateful for geared-to-income housing. As an activist, I've seen great changes made happen with enough push from people in various communities around various issues. But I've also seen the joy and energy communities still show after generations of oppression, and if whole communities can stay motivated when systems have been focused on keeping them down, I will keep doing my part."