Mother daughter duo running for NDP in provincial election

Politics is in the genes for HWDSB trustee Alex Johnstone. She's the NDP candidate for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale. If everything goes well she could serve in the provincial legislature with her mom, Jan.

Politics is in the genes

Alex Johnstone, NDP candidate for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, is a unique candidate. She is one of two candidates whose moms are also running in the June 12 election. From left to right: Jan Johnstone, NDP leader Andrea Horwath and Alex Johnstone. (Ontario NDP)

Alex Johnstone has a natural confidant when it comes to being an NDP candidate — her mom, Jan, is running too.

Johnstone won the nomination Wednesday night to be the NDP candidate for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale. Her mom is the NDP candidate for Huron-Bruce.

They’re not the only mother-daughter candidates in the June 12 provincial election. The other pair are also running for the NDP. Catherine Fife, the incumbent for Kitchener-Waterloo, is running again. Her mom, Sheryl Wood, is a candidate in Peterborough.

The Liberals and Conservatives have no reported parent-and-child candidates. But Conservative candidate Roxane Villeneuve-Robertson, daughter of former federal agriculture minister Noble Villeneuve, is running in Glengarry-Prescott-Russell.

Both Johnstone and her mom are fairly nonchalant about the uniqueness of their candidacies. In separate interviews, both echo the same motto — “the personal is political, and the political is personal.” Growing up, Johnstone said, politics and activism were simply called community involvement.

“When we talked about politics, we were talking about issues in the community,” she said. “Those issues are spoken about in all households, just in a different context.”

The pair already sit at a board table together. Alex Johnstone is the Ancaster trustee for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. Jan Johnstone is a Bluewater District School Board trustee, and the two women both serve on the Ontario Public School Boards Association.

Political involvement goes back far in the Johnstone family, and it wasn't necessarily partisan, Jan said. She recalls her dad taking her to the polls when she was 18. She described to him what she cared about, and he said, “You’d probably be a Liberal or an NDP then.” He didn’t disclose his own preferred party.

Organized students in Grade 5 to support striking teachers

Alex Johnstone’s father is past president of the Grey Bruce Labour Council. In fifth grade, Johnstone organized her fellow students and went to her school to support striking teachers. She also attended a national unity rally in Quebec with her mother. When her mom ran federally in 1997, a 12-year-old Johnstone stuffed envelopes and folded campaign signs.

“My mom has had a profound influence on my life,” she said.

Candidates in Hamilton ridings

Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale:

  • Liberal: Ted McMeekin (incumbent)
  • NDP: Alex Johnstone
  • PC: Donna Skelly

Hamilton Mountain:

  • Liberal: Javid Mirza
  • NDP: Monique Taylor (incumbent)
  • PC: Albert Marshall
  • Green: Greg Lenko

Hamilton Centre:

  • Liberal: Donna Tiqui-Shebib
  • NDP: Andrea Horwath (incumbent)
  • PC: John Vail
  • ​Green: Peter Ormond

Niagara West-Glanbrook:

  • Liberal: David Mossey
  • NDP: Nomination vote Thursday night
  • PC: Tim Hudak (incumbent)
  • Green: Basia Krzyzanowski

Hamilton East – Stoney Creek:

  • Liberal: Ivan Luksic
  • NDP: Paul Miller (incumbent)
  • PC: David Brown
  • Green: Greg Zink

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