'Disheartened' NDP voter seeks Liberal nomination for Hamilton Centre

Deirdre Pike has voted NDP for many years, but she announced Saturday morning she would be seeking the Liberal nomination for Hamilton Centre.

Deirdre Pike, an LGBTQ+ activist in Hamilton, announced Saturday morning her desire to run for MPP

Deirdre Pike (right) is seen here with Premier Kathleen Wynne. (Deirdre Pike)

A former New Democratic Party voter now seeking to run against the party's leader for the Liberals, Deirdre Pike believes she's "on the right path."

On Saturday morning, Pike announced her desire to run against Andrea Horwath in Hamilton Centre in the upcoming provincial election in her last Hamilton Spectator column — for now.

"The leader of the NDP and I have stood in solidarity" on many issues, Pike told CBC News.

However, she added that Horwath's "silence around the poverty issue in the province [had] just disheartened [her]."

Pike is known as a longstanding advocate of Hamilton's LGBTQ+ community and is currently the senior social planner for the city's Social Planning and Research Council.

She is also part of a team that monitors Ontario's basic income pilot running in Hamilton.

Pike pointed to her meeting with Premier Kathleen Wynne in December as the trigger for her desire to seek the nomination for the Liberals.

"I saw a woman with such sincerity and compassion and attentive listening skills. These are not the things I've always witnessed in politicians," Pike said.

"I felt called to work from the inside."

Community response

Pike defended her lack of experience in politics, noting her history as an avid voter and her exposure to politics through family members who were active participants.

"It's been all around me. It's just something I always thought I'd be better pushing from the outside," she said.

On Twitter there were positive responses from a number of Hamiltonians. Ted McMeekin, the Liberal MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, sent luck her way. He was the one who received Pike's first signal that she wanted to run back in December.

On Saturday, the day of her announcement, Pike was in Toronto for the Liberal Party's annual general meeting.

While she waits to find out if she's won the nomination, Pike will be continuing her work as a senior social planner.

"Everything I've done up until this moment has been with the mindset and the heart for people who are marginalized," she said.

"I know that the people of Hamilton Centre have hearts like mine."