Windsor

Trudeau is 'my kind of prime minister': Sandra Pupatello seeks a Liberal nomination in Windsor

Former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello announced Friday her intention to seek the federal Liberal nomination for Windsor West.

SNC-Lavalin affair is 'about jobs,' says ex-Ontario cabinet minister

Sandra Pupatello represented Windsor West in the Ontario Legislature from 1999 until 2011. She is seeking the federal Liberal nomination for the riding. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello said Friday that Justin Trudeau is "my kind of prime minister" as she announced her intention to seek the federal Liberal Party's nomination for Windsor West.     

"That's the guy that fights for jobs, and when I hear that, it's music to my ears, that is my cup of tea," she said, adding she would be delighted to serve in Trudeau's government. 

In regards to the SNC-Lavalin affair, Pupatello told CBC News: "I totally understand that it's about jobs."

"We probably don't get everything right, but I can tell you I want to know that I'm backing the guy that does it for jobs and the economy," she said. "Are we going to learn from that experience? All of us will."

Pupatello is challenging previously declared Liberal hopefuls Hsiao D'Ailly and Melinda Munro for the nomination to run in the Oct. 21 election.

Windsor West is held for the NDP by Brian Masse. He secured the riding in 2002, succeeding Liberal MP Herb Gray, one of the longest-serving MPs in Canadian history.

Masse carried the seat through five subsequent elections.

On Friday, Pupatello cited her experience in the region mentioning her work helping expand the University of Windsor and St. Clair College, while also speaking of her bona fides as a champion for local labour. 

Pupatello represented Windsor-Sandwich as a provincial legislator from 1995 until 1999, when the Windsor West riding was established. She held several cabinet portfolios, including education and economic development.

She carried Windsor West until 2011, when she stepped down from politics to move to the private sector, starting her own management consulting firm Canadian International Avenues and landing contracts with PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada.

Pupatello is challenging previously declared Liberal hopefuls Hsiao D'Ailly and Melinda Munro for the nomination. Windsor West is held for the NDP by Brian Masse, the MP since 2002. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Pupatello unsuccessfully ran for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Ontario in January 2013, losing to future premier Kathleen Wynne.

She told the crowd Friday that her time in the private sector gave her insight into how people "actually feel about government."

"I realized it's a lot easier to make a business plan than it is sometimes making government work," she said. "I learned a lot and these eight years were valuable."

Pupatello criticized the NDP and Conservatives, challenging the NDP for being anti-trade.

"That is our lifeblood here ... trade is our blood in this community," she said.

She criticized Conservative MPs for wanting to "give in" during NAFTA negotiations. 

In contrast, Pupatello expressed praise for the way Liberal negotiators handled the talks.

Pupatello told CBC News that she decided to seek the nomination because she felt the need to "jump off the sidelines and get back in there."

"People have told me they don't feel like they've got someone in their corner fighting for them, and I want to be that person taking a big step back in," she said, adding this will likely be the toughest campaign she has run.

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