Candidate drops out of Windsor West Liberal nomination race, throws support behind Pupatello
Former Ontario cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello and Hsaio d'Ailly are vying for the Liberal nomination
Windsor business owner and lawyer Melinda Munro dropped out of the Windsor West Liberal nomination race Friday, using her exit to endorse former Ontario cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello.
Munro made the announcement at a riding meeting at Windsor's Fogolar Furlan Club — the same location where Pupatello declared her return to politics last week — roughly eight weeks before the upcoming October federal election.
Munro — one of three women vying for Windsor West's Liberal nomination — said Pupatello brings an "unbeatable wealth of experience, skills and profile to this campaign."
Munro added she and Pupatello "don't agree on every single aspect of all the issues in this election coming up," but described the Liberal Party of Canada as a "big tent party."
"We represent ends of the spectrum within that party that [has], for the greater part of our history as a nation, worked together to create great policy and great opportunities for Canadians," said Munro. "What we do agree on are the core values of a progressive, future-forward, inclusive government."
Pupatello thanked Munro for her endorsement at the same riding meeting, stating "we are moving one step closer to me being the candidate that is going to take our message door-to-door in this very riding."
"[Melinda] is a progressive voice in our party and I need to be certain that when we go forward to Ottawa from Windsor West, we're bringing those voices exactly to Ottawa from here," said Pupatello.
Munro's departure now sees Pupatello as challenging University of Waterloo associate professor Hsiao d'Ailly for the Windsor West Liberal nomination.
Hsiao d'Ailly used a statement to address Munro's endorsement of Pupatello, saying she "entered the Liberal nomination process in good faith to offer myself to the service of the communities and the people of Windsor West believing that I could be the strong voice for our community."
"We need to respect each individual's decision to enter or to withdraw from this process," said d'Ailly. "Personally, I am committed to follow all the rules and procedures set out by the party.
Response from the NDP
NDP Windsor West MP Brian Masse said he won't change the way he campaigns as a result of Pupatello's potential presence in the electoral race.
"We stick to the issues," he said. "That's been consistent from day one. We don't quit on files, we keep to them."
When asked whether he expects the upcoming federal election to be divided between loyalties centred around specific candidates, Masse said "it's hard to know."
"For me, I just stick to the issues, because they really come from people at the doorstep, and that's where it shaped many of the policies we have today," Masse said.
Windsor West's current MP also briefly addressed a recent iPolitics poll organized by Mainstreet showing Masse neck-and-neck with Liberal hopeful Pupatello, saying he doesn't "really look at many polls."
"The most important thing is to take advantage of the opportunity to communicate the issues, and make sure that we're talking about things that are important to Windsor West residents," he said.
Pupatello addressed the same poll Friday, saying "we can't get ahead of ourselves."
"I've known going in that this was going to be my toughest election ever," she said. "It is going to take all kinds of volunteers to get people to come out and vote on election day."
She nonetheless said the polling is "nice to see."
"It's encouraging and very motivating frankly for the volunteers but it doesn't matter until election day so we've got so much work to do," said Pupatello, adding that she first needs to win the Liberal nomination before she's officially in the running as a candidate.
CBC News has opted not to publish the figures outlined in the poll.
With files from Jason Viau