In the last issue of the Tribune, we presented the candidates for the June 2 provincial election in Timiskaming-Cochrane. One candidate was inadvertently left out. We present him now.
Jeff Wilkinson, a 66-year-old resident of Kirkland Lake, says that he wasn’t thinking of running until he received a call from NOTA party leader Greg Vezina. “He started to explain what the party was about, and I kind of got into it.” Wilkinson adds that his party is not big on policy, except for a few key components. “You vote according to the will of your constituents. So, the trick is knowing what your constituents want. You vote or bring things forward based on what they think rather than what you think… It’s not a broad policy, outside of Referendum, Recall and Responsible government. Those are the only three policies we put forth.”
Wilkinson explains, “If you have an issue which is contentious, do a referendum and see how people feel. And, if you’re in government and your constituents decide they don’t like you, they should have the right to recall you. If something happens and the majority don’t agree, or you do something stupid, the majority of constituents should be able to get you out. I think that’s a good idea. Politicians sometimes get too comfortable in their chairs. I look at John Vanthof, I voted for him in the last election, but I look at him and he looks a little worn out. Well, I look a little worn out, I’m 66 years old, what am I doing in an election? But think about it for a bit – senior citizens make up some 20% of the population, maybe they deserve a vote!”
Jeff Wilkinson started out in journalism, as a sports writer at the Windsor Star. During the recession of 1982 he was downsized, and started moving from paper to paper. He worked in Elliot Lake for two years and then moved to Kirkland Lake, a few days before the Adam’s Mine closed.
“This place used to be bustling when I moved here. It’s slowed down – starting to move again.” Wilkinson admits he doesn’t know much about the rest of the riding because “It’s so big!”, but he does plan on researching more and talking to people.
When asked about being a fringe party, Wilkinson is forthright. “It is a fringe party, let’s face it. We might get a few seats. I’m more interested in bringing forward some of the views people don’t hear, and some of the majority views that get drowned out.”
His campaign literature asserts that 70% of Ontarians polled believe that none of the major parties really listens to them. “Look at seniors; they don’t have enough voice; they don’t really talk about senior issues.” Then there’s health care. Wilkinson says of the hospital in Kirkland Lake, “We have a four-floor hospital and only one floor has patients on it. I had a suspected case of COVID. They didn’t test me but stuck me in quarantine anyway, sent a nurse every once in awhile to see if I was still alive.” During the COVID funding outlays, Wilkinson asserts, “$77 billion at the last count went to business, but I couldn’t even get a test!”
Jeff Wilkinson will be attending the West Nipissing All Candidates evening on May 26.
He does have health issues, so someone will have to drive him to Sturgeon Falls but, he asserts, “You can’t quit.”