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Rookie NDP candidate Angelique Belcourt says 'we gave it all we had'

'I would definitely want to run again. It was such a great journey and I would love to do it again,' said 23-year-old first-time candidate
First-time Simcoe North New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate Angelique Belcourt fell short in her first federal election campaign. But she was not disappointed with the results.  

"I definitely did better than I expected," Belcourt said while surrounded by supporters late Monday night at the Maple Canadian Pub in Midland. "I'm very grateful."

Belcourt, a 23-year-old Indigenous woman, said she received tremendous support throughout her campaign.

"I had great support from my community, great support from the NDP ... I didn't really find it difficult at all," she said. 

 "I feel like people were more inclined to listen to me because of my age," she added.

The original candidate for the NDP in Simcoe North was Janet-Lynne Durnford. However, complications related to the federal party's candidate vetting process prompted her to withdraw her candidacy.

When Belcourt stepped up to the plate, she was late in the game and had only four weeks to campaign. However, Belcourt doesn't believe that late start had an impact on her finishing in third place in the riding with 8,749 votes. 

"We gave it all we had over the past few weeks," Belcourt said with a smile.

Incumbent Bruce Stanton (Conservative) topped the polls in Simcoe North for the fifth straight time, earning 27,112 votes. First-time Liberal candidate Gerry Hawes was second with 19,140 votes.

In the last federal election in 2015, Richard Banigan secured just 6,037 votes for the NDP in Simcoe North, so Belcourt bettered that by almost 3,000 votes. 

Belcourt says the experience of running in the federal election opened her eyes to her community.  

"I learned how much the community wants to see change, and we made our party stand out," Belcourt said with pride. 

Belcourt says she thinks she will run again, but said she wanted to see where life takes her before fully committing. 

"I would definitely want to run again. It was such a great journey and I would love to do it again," she said. 

Belcourt said the only disappointment from her experience is that people, in essence, voted for the status quo. 

Elizabeth Van Houtte, the NDP candidate in the last provincial election, was among those on hand to support Belcourt Monday night. 

"We could not be more thrilled to have this young, Indigenous woman step forward to put her name on a ballot because we didn't have a candidate," Van Houtte said.

"Wherever Angelique goes she has an aura. People love her vision and that is the future of politics," said Van Houtte. 

Van Houtte said the vibe surrounding the NDP in Simcoe North was positive and they believe they have something they can build on going forward.

It was a particularly tough night for NDP supporters who travelled from Christian Island to support Belcourt. Due to high winds, the ferry to the island was cancelled late Monday night, forcing the islanders to stay in Midland overnight with friends and family.


Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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