It was a lovely evening for an announcement in front of Old City Hall, and it was there, in front of John Galt and about 30 to 40 supporters that James Gordon declared that he was going to do what most people had already figured he was going to do anyway, run for the NDP in the next provincial election in Guelph.
Gordon gathered supporters in front of the statue of Galt because he says that he draws inspiration from the Guelph's "visionary," "risk-taking" leader, and because the location is conveniently across the road from where Gordon started his career of community engagement at the Carden Street Cafe. "It turns out I was more interested in those conversations than in serving lunch," Gordon says, "But it's those connections that have led me here today."
In his speech, Gordon hit many of the same notes he talked about in his initial 2011 campaign, a grassroots push to bring a new voice to Queen's Park that represents, in Gordon's view, the more progressive leanings of the city. "Guelph's voice matters," Gordon explains, "And I'll be carrying your voices, your values, your hopes and dreams through a campaign that, with your help, I know we can win."
Impossible? In 2011, only 804 votes separated Gordon from PC candidate Greg Schirk. Liberal incumbent (now Minister of Education) Liz Sandals still came out on top with 42 per cent of the vote, but Schirk and Gordon split most of the rest of the vote between them. Of course, the coming election will present something of a stronger fight for Gordon who, if acclaimed as the NDP nominee, will go head-to-head with Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner, who will likely be pursuing a similar political base. Still, Gordon remains confident that he has momentum.
"People are hungry for change and want to see not only an MPP that works for them, but works with them," Gordon says citing a story about people approaching him saying that if they had been aware of how strong his support was then he would have had even more voters on Election Day.
"We need strong, local leadership to speak for our city in Queen's Park, and even though I'm a huge international rock star, I actually don't think you can get any more local than me!"
Gordon's nomination will be up for vote at an upcoming nomination meeting.