Editor's Note: OrilliaMatters will profile the Simcoe North candidates seeking your vote in the June 2 provincial election. Today, we feature New Blue Party of Ontario candidate Mark Douris.
Meet Mark Douris, the New Blue Party of Ontario candidate for Simcoe North.
The 31-year-old sales and marketing professional joined the New Blue party in 2021. He became politically involved during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That’s when I really started paying attention to what was going on with the House of Commons and the Legislative Assembly,” Douris explained. “The more that I watched, the more that I saw that the stuff that they do is kind of ridiculous.”
Douris says he disagrees with most of the policies that were being passed by governments during the pandemic.
“I continued to look into it more and more and kind of ended up here,” he said.
While Douris admits his political resumé is thin, he did study political science in his first year at the University of Toronto. Despite his lack of experience, the Newmarket native felt he had to put his name on a ballot for those who don’t feel confident in any other candidate in the upcoming provincial election.
“If this riding needs somebody to be a candidate for New Blue, then it is my civic duty to stand up and get engaged with the political process,” he said. “That’s the best way to change things. I believe in democracy and that’s why I wanted to get involved in this year’s election."
Douris describes the New Blue party as a right-centre conservative party. He says the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario is shifting more to the centre-left with some of its policies. Douris says PC Leader Doug Ford seems to enable some of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s policies and doesn’t stand up for the conservative values people in Simcoe North may hold.
“Our platform is going with a classical conservative platform,” he said. “We want to promote a physically responsible government and less government interference in people’s day-to-day life.”
He is inspired in his campaign by Belinda Karahalios, co-founder of the New Blue party.
“When I first started watching the Legislative Assembly, I saw her standing up for not only people in her riding but for a lot of Ontarians who didn’t feel like they had a voice,” he said. “I have gained a lot of respect for her because she is very courageous.”
Douris says Ontario party Leader Jim Karahalios has also inspired him through Karahalios’s legal battle with the federal Conservatives and his personal battle with cancer.
“Seeing everything they did and still producing a political party and growing it to the point that it is at now is amazing,” he said. “It was easy to get behind people like that.”
While trying to stay optimistic, Douris says his expectations are realistic going into the election.
“Obviously, we are a new party,” he said. “Not a lot of people know who we are. We don’t get a lot of coverage from the mainstream media. So, this one is (about) getting out there, canvas every night, trying to knock on as many doors as we can, and letting people know there is another option out there.”
Douris says from talking to people in Simcoe North, it seems as if a lot of people are fed up with the current government and don’t feel like they have a party to vote for.
“When they hear about us, they are excited,” he said. “The goal is to let people know that there is another option whether it’s this year or in four years.”
Being a representative for the people is the main goal for Douris himself in the upcoming election. He says he strives to be much more than a figurehead.
“I actually want to be a voice for Simcoe North,” he said. “I want to represent them the best that I can in Queen’s Park.”
Douris says he is looking forward to meeting new people in the community through his campaign. He and his girlfriend Natalie moved to Severn last August and they are still fairly new to the area.
“It’s nice to really see the community and meet some of the people out there,” he said. “I’ve started planting my roots in the area.”
Douris and his girlfriend have plans to start a family here in Simcoe County in the near future.