New Candidate for Guelph, Another Jahangir on the Ballot

The election is still a couple of weeks away, but this is the last weekend for anyone with thoughts of running in this election to turn in their papers. Suddenly, on Friday night, there were two more! In Guelph, we have a new independent candidate from one of the smaller parties, while Wellington-Halton Hills has completed their slate from the “Big Four” with candidate who’s name is familiar to local politicos.

On Friday night, a new name on the local ballot could be seen on the Elections Canada website, Karen Levenson. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because she ran in Guelph twice before in 2008 and 2011 as a nominee for the Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada. In 2008, Levenson finished in eighth place with 73 votes, and finished in sixth place in 2011 with 123 votes.

That party has since become the Animal Protection Party of Canada, and Levenson is now one of 12 candidates running under their banner across Canada. The party is billed as the first Federal party in North America to be dedicated solely to the protection of all animals and the environment, and that they are the political representatives for animals in Canada.

“We have campaigned for and against almost every party in Canada at one time or another depending on their current environmental and animal protection record. We are purely focused on the environmental and animal protection policies of a party or candidate,” according to the APP website.

“No other political party considers animal protection issues or a broad scope of environmental issues as a priority in Canada, not during the election and not after it,” Levenson told Guelph Politico in 2011. “I am running because, while all political parties have policies on health care, none link our environmental degradation and confined animal food production systems to increased sickness, hospitalization and deaths, although mounting scientific evidence demonstrate the inextricable links.”

Levenson has participated in a lot of animals rights projects and groups in Guelph and area, and is a member of Women Igniting Change and VIVAS (formerly the Vegan Women’s Leadership Network). She also recently published a book called, Confessions of an Animal Rights Terrorist and you can read an excerpt here.

The other late breaking candidate news comes Wellington-Halton Hills where they now have an NDP candidate, Noor Jahangir . If that name sounds familiar it’s because this Jahangir is the daughter of Guelph’s NDP candidate Aisha Jahangir. A press release from the New Democratic riding association in Wellington-Halton Hills named the young entrepreneur  and digital media marketing student their standard bearer for the riding.

“Our voters in Wellington-Halton Hills care about the climate crisis, a workers-first recovery from the pandemic, and affordability,” Jahangir said in a statement. “The COVID pandemic has threatened the survival of small businesses; its financial effects will be determined by the policies we put in place now. I am concerned how this is going to affect small businesses, working lives, affordability, and the changing landscape of jobs. We need to have diverse voices at the table as we prepare for the future.”

The more immediate concern is if Jahangir can be more successful that Wellington-Halton Hills’ NDP candidate in 2019. Andrew Bascombe finished fourth in that race even though he got nearly 1,200 more votes than the 2015 candidate Anne Gajerski-Cauley who came in third. Since the creation of the riding in 2004, the NDP have never done better than 13 per cent of the vote, and that was the year Michael Chong was re-elected with 63.7 per cent.

The deadline for filing nomination papers is Monday, and the completed ballots will be announced on Wednesday. Election Day is Monday September 20.

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