No matter the outcome of Thursday’s vote, Aggie Mlynarz says she found her calling when she decided to run for provincial office.
On April 22 Mlynarz won the local NDP nomination to run in the June 9 election. In an interview Tuesday, Mlynarz said it has been a whirlwind ever since.
Even if not voted to Queen’s Park on Thursday — recent polls show she does have a fighting chance in the close riding of Guelph — Mlynarz said the experience has shown her a number of ways she can become more involved in the community.
“People asked if I am going to go away or disappear? Is this a one-hit wonder? I don’t think I would be able to roll back on this experience that I have had,” said Mlynarz.
She calls her campaign the best learning experience of her life.
“I feel like every week we gained more momentum, every week we built better partnerships with members of the community and had amazing conversations about how our platform could support a lot of the programming we have in this city,” said Mlynarz.
With only days left in the campaign,NDP leader Andrea Horwath stopped in Guelph on Tuesday for a campaign event the The Boathouse.
Aside from fellow Guelph candidate Mike Schreiner — who is himself the leader of the the Green Party he represents — Mlynarz received the most support from the leader of her party, with two visits during the campaign, as well as a visit on the day of the party’s local nomination meeting.
Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne stopped once during the campaign to support local candidate Sly Castaldi, while Ontario PC leader Doug Ford made no appearances in Guelph during the campaign.
Mlynarz didn’t make an address during Tuesday’s event, but proudly stood next to her party’s leader.
“(Guelphites) have been hearing me talk for four weeks straight. But also for me, it’s a real privilege to stand next to someone who has nine years experience as a leader,” said Mlynarz. “There’s no muzzling going on, that’s for sure. It’s only encouragement and teaching.”
Mlynarz said Guelph is a unique riding that is affected by what is happening elsewhere in provincial politics, while maintaining Guelph-centric issues.
She is not convinced it is in Guelph’s best interest to elect Schreiner as a single member in the face of a possible Ford-led Ontario government.
“There are a lot of things at stake, I think that has been clear over the last four weeks. We are clear on our intention — we need every last seat to be as strong against a Doug Ford majority as possible,” said Mlynarz.
On Saturday, Mlynarz and her team watched Wynne’s address, in which she conceded that she would not be premier after Thursday’s vote.
"I know she’s a contentious figure, I know she has done some things that went against the wishes of a lot of Ontarians, but you have to feel for someone like that after 15 years,” said Mlynarz.
“I think we can’t really talk about a person’s legacy until the smoke clears and this election passes, but I agree with Sly — Kathleen Wynne did amazing things for women,” she added.
Whether in government or in opposition, Mlynarz said she is particularly interested in tackling precarious work and ensuring people have equal access to health, pharma and dental care, regardless of whether they work part time or full time.
“Especially if you are a student and this is your dream, you want to be a working artist and you have student loans to pay. I think there are better ways we can support young people moving in that direction,” she said.
Mlynarz also said she became more interested in waste management after working for a time at the city’s Materials Recovery Facility.
“I got some hands-on experience with plastics and recycling and, because I am a little bit of a nerd, I did a bit of research into it and got myself involved,” said Mlynarz. “I can say that I am stoked the legislation for waste management is coming up in 2019, because there is much that needs to be addressed.”
She added, “I think there’s a lot of exciting things you can do with garbage.”
Mlynarz is proud to stand beside the other seven candidates running in the election.
“I am happy to say I feel like my campaign has been very positive. Even in my interactions with the other candidates, and I am also really happy to have eight names on the ballot — I think that is fantastic,” she said.
On Thursday, Mlynarz and her team will be at NV Kitchen + Bar watching election results come in.
“I think being there with friends and family is going to be a wonderful experience, whichever way it goes,” said Mlynarz.