The Ontario NDP campaign is a family affair this time around, with two mother-daughter duos running as separate candidates for the party.
Kitchener-Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife — who snatched up the riding in 2012’s by-election after PC Elizabeth Witmer stepped down — is running alongside her mother, Sheila Wood, the candidate for Peterborough.
Ms. Fife was co-chair on the candidate search committee, but when Ms. Wood told her at Christmas she was interested in throwing her hat in the ring, she recused herself from the process. It was a contested spot but her mother won the nomination and is now fighting a tough race for the riding currently held by cabinet minister Jeff Leal.
“We usually talk in the morning and at night and we try to support each other,” Ms. Fife said at a rally for neighbouring riding Kitchener-Centre last Friday.
“I’m very proud of her. I think that she was up for the challenge.”
Though she said it will be a tough fight, Ms. Fife said it would be “amazing” to work alongside her mother at Queen’s Park if they are both successful in their campaigns.
In Huron-Bruce, Jan Johnstone will be repping the NDP while her daughter, Alex Johnstone, is nominated for the party in Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale.
Ms. Fife and the Johnstones share another connection as well: they all got their start in public service as school board trustees, along with seven other NDP candidates running.
The mother-daughter duos are the only parent-child pairs running in the election, but there are some other political family ties. The PC candidate for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, Roxane Villeneuve-Robertson, is the daughter of former federal agriculture minister Noble Villeneuve, while NDP Thunder Bay-Superior North candidate Andrew Foulds is the son of former MPP Jim Foulds.
Ms. Fife says the best advice she has to offer her mother is to be prepared for the ups and downs that come with political life.
“There’s a lot of cynicism out there about politics right now and when you become the politician, you become the face of some of those challenges,” she said.
“All she can do — and all that I try to do — is engage the public and talk to people and share our passion for change. At the end of the day, the voters get to choose and we’re just trying to give them a fair option.”