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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:47 am    Post subject: Welland ndp mpp Cindy Forster retiring Reply with quote

( another blow to the Ontario ndp , Welland mpp Cindy Forster is retiring after initially saying she might run again , leaving the riding open and likely facing a tough challenge from the Ontario pc's this year )

UPDATED: Cindy Forster calling it quits

By Grant LaFleche, The Standard

Wednesday, January 3, 2018 7:09:47 EST PM

After 25 years in politics, Cindy Forster is calling it a career.

Although the 64-year-old former Welland city councillor and mayor, former Niagara Region councillor and current MPP wouldn’t entirely rule out a future comeback, she said now is the time to focus on family.

“This isn’t an easy decision at all,” Forster said Wednesday morning after the Welland riding NDP MPP announced her intention not to run for office in this year’s provincial election. “But this is the decision that we have made.”

Forster, who has served for two terms as MPP for the riding that also includes Thorold, south St. Catharines and Port Colborne, said in an interview Wednesday that she has decided to spend more time with her husband of 41 years, Brian, who has battled serious health issues for the last few years.

That battle isn’t over yet, and Forster said she cannot give politics the focus and commitment it requires.

“With no regrets about the time I’ve given to public service, I have made the decision that the time is right for me to hand the reins to someone who will continue to work for Niagara Centre residents with the kind of commitment and passion the people of this region deserve,” Forster said in a statement released early Wednesday.

Forster began her political career working on the election campaigns of the late Welland-area MPP Mel Swart. That closeup look at politics inspired Forster to run for office.

“When you do that kind of work, you the catch the bug,” said Forster, whose first elected post was as a Welland city councillor.

She was elected as Welland’s mayor in 2000, but lost her re-election bid to Damian Goulbourne.

Undeterred, the former nurse ran for a seat on Niagara Region council in 2006.

In 2011 she left council to run for the NDP in the provincial election, replacing out-going NDP MPP Peter Kormos.

Kormos, in turn, was elected to Forster’s seat on regional council.

As an MPP Forster fought Niagara Health System’s decision to close Welland hospital, has been a frequent and vocal critic of regional council and Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and proposed amendments to legislation that governs conservation authorities.

When regional council unlawfully seized the computer and notes of St. Catharines Standard reporter Bill Sawchuk last month, Forster filed a formal complaint with the provincial ombudsman, which has launched an investigation into the incident.

She’s also had to juggle politics with family matters. In recent years it was not uncommon for Forster to conduct interviews with reporters while travelling to or from her husband’s medical appointments.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Forster “as both a skilful legislator and passionate community advocate,” will be missed at Queen’s Park.

“She has fought day-in and day-out to protect working families, preserve our environment, and to build a safer and more just Ontario for everyone,” Horwath said in a statement Wednesday. “No matter how important the work, family has to come first, and I fully support Cindy’s decision to be with her family at this time. On behalf of all New Democrats, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to Cindy for her years of service to Ontarians, and best wishes as she prepares for the next chapter in her life.”

Forster said she will continue to do the work she has been doing until June, when the provincial parliament dissolves and the election begins.

“You can never say never in politics I guess, but I am not planning on it,” Forster said when asked if she would consider running for office in the future. “That said, I will still be involved in the community in different ways.”


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cindy Forster pledges to keep fighting for causes she believes in

Former Welland mayor won’t seek re-election as MPP, to focus on her husband's health

News Jan 03, 2018 by Paul Forsyth  Niagara This Week - Welland|

MPP Cindy Forster

MPP Cindy Forster announced Wednesday, Jan. 3, that she would not be seeking re-election in 2018.

Forster won't seek re-election

WELLAND — Cindy Forster’s bulldoglike tenacity when it comes to issues she feels are important in many ways mimic that of her predecessors as MPP for Welland riding: Peter Kormos, and Mel Swart before that.

That’s no accident. Swart, a larger-than-life man with a booming voice and a legendary commitment to social justice issues and working men and women, was an important mentor to the longtime registered nurse.

Forster, who announced Wednesday that she will not seek re-election in this year’s provincial election to focus on the health of her husband Brian, said she took vacation time from her job as a nurse in the 1980s to work on Swart’s final election campaign.

Swart saw something in Forster, who after working the front lines of health care as a nurse for 20 years went on to work for about 20 years with the Ontario Nurses Association as a union representative.

“He encouraged me to run for city council,” said Forster “He stood beside me at the grocery store when I campaigned.

“(He’s) why I got involved in local politics.”

Forster was elected to Welland city council in 1994, then elected as mayor in 2000 and went on to be elected as regional councillor before taking her seat at Queen’s Park in 2011.

Swart was famous for his unshakable integrity and his refusal to give up fighting for things he felt are right.

Forster channeled those principles of Swart, who died 11 years ago, during her work as MPP on key issues such as saving the Welland hospital from closure, and doggedly pushing — ultimately successfully — for Ontario’s auditor general to conduct an audit of the embattled Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.

Forster said the future of Welland’s hospital was in doubt as far back as her time on regional council.

“We’ve been fighting for the hospital for a very long time,” she said. “That hospital was almost gone. It would have been unprecedented to close a hospital that serves 100,000 people.”

Forster, local mayors and council members, and community activists and others launched a relentless campaign to save the hospital — where Forster used to work as a nurse — using tactics such as rallies at Queen’s Park, petitions and letter writing campaigns. That paid off last fall with Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins announcing the hospital will remain open with a full emergency department.

“That wouldn’t have happened without all of us fighting to make that happen,” said Forster. “That speaks to strong representatives at all levels of government to make sure we keep the services we have.”

Forster also hit hard against the NPCA, accused by critics of questionable practices on hirings, firings and contract awards, when the government-funded agency and its former chief administrative officer Carmen D’Angelo each filed $100,000 defamation lawsuits against St. Catharines activist Ed Smith who authored a paper critical of the agency.

Forster, who last fall introduced a motion before the provincial standing committee on public accounts for the auditor general to conduct a full audit on the authority, told Niagara This Week she won’t stand for government bullying a citizen who dared to ask questions.

“We can’t stand for that,” she said. “Everybody has the right to ask questions around public agencies. The people who pay the freight have the right and deserve answers to the questions they ask.”

A judge subsequently dismissed those lawsuits against Smith.

Forster said her husband has been dealing with health issues for the last year and a half. Over the Christmas break they sat down and decided it was best for her not to run for re-election.

Forster said serving as an MPP requires a “huge” time commitment and sacrifice of family time, working evenings and attending events throughout weekends when not at Queen’s Park. That’s especially true in the massive Welland riding, a New Democratic Party dynasty for the last 42 years, which covers Welland, Port Colborne, Wainfleet and part of St. Catharines.

But it’s also an enormously rewarding career, she said.

“The best of a job is the people you meet,” said Forster. “You meet people from all walks of life that you might not otherwise have met.”

Forster said she loves going into her constituency to work on behalf of residents on issues ranging from workers’ compensation to being suspended from their jobs without the support of a union. She takes pride in the fact that her office even gets residents from other MPP's ridings walking in for help, and even referrals from other MPP's offices.

Forster credits her constituency staff for much of that.

“They do a lot of the real slugging,” she said. “(People) know there are things we’ll get done in our office that don’t happen in other constituency offices.”

Forster, who pledged to keep working for constituents until the election in June, said it’s all about standing up for the little guy.

“We stand up for people who need our voice,” she said. “It doesn’t matter who it is. Everybody is important.”

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath said Forster will be sadly missed, saying the MPP worked day-in and day-out to protect working families, build a safer and more just Ontario, and preserve the environment.

“For seven years, Cindy Forster has been a tireless advocate for her community, and for all hard-working Ontarians," Horwath said in a statement.

Forster said she won’t go quietly into the night when she steps down as MPP.

“I’ll still be out in the community doing what I do,” she said. “I’ll still be volunteering and advocating for causes I think are important.

“What an honour to actually serve your community.”


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NDP hopefuls line up for Forster’s seat

By Dave Johnson, Tribune Staff

Thursday, January 4, 2018 7:30:13 EST PM

A Welland city councillor and a former St. Catharines councillor and mayoral candidate are among people already hoping to represent the NDP in Niagara Centre in the upcoming provincial election, after Cindy Forster Wednesday announced her retirement from politics.

It could shape up to be an interesting election for a riding — although revised many times over the years — that has been held by the New Democrats for 42 years, by Forster for the past two terms.

Pat Chiocchio, a four-term Ward 4 Welland councillor, announced Thursday he’ll seek the party’s nomination.

Chiocchio is a Niagara Region employee and president of Canadian Union of Public Employees 1263.

“My experience as a Welland councillor coupled with my knowledge as a union leader positions me well to be an effective, aggressive representative for our riding and that is why I am seeking the NDP nomination,” he said in a news release.

As a city councillor, he’s chaired committees such as one aimed at better relations between off-campus Niagara College students and neighbours and for infrastructure and development services, and has been involved in efforts to save Welland hospital.

“I like to help people. That’s what I have done all my life, and I want to continue this in a meaningful way. I embrace the values of the NDP because that is what the party does. To me it seems a natural progression to take my efforts to the next level, to use my leadership and dedication to represent the residents of this riding as the NDP member at Queen’s Park,” Chiocchio said.

Jeff Burch, executive director and CEO of the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre, a regional organization based in St. Catharines, also hopes to follow in Forster’s footsteps.

The south St. Catharines resident served as a Merritton ward councillor from 2006 to 2014, and has been in his current position since 2010. He served as St. Catharines’ budget chair for two years and was on the budget committee for all eight years on council.

Burch was chair of the Niagara Refugee Association Committee, a group that responded to the Syrian refugee crisis across Niagara and he’s worked with both Welland Heritage Council and Multicultural Centre and Fort Erie Heritage Council.

“For the past couple of years I’ve been assisting in the riding … speaking on Cindy’s behalf and working with her,” he said.

Burch said with Forster’s decision to retire he sees a need to run.

“I want to help the community. I’ve proven I can be a strong advocate,” said Burch, adding some of the issues he’d fight for on behalf of residents include health care, mental health, income equality and conservation.

Burch currently manages a full-time staff of 40 with a $3-million budget.

Melissa McGlashan, a Welland mother of two and a social activist with the south Niagara chapter of the Council of Canadians, is also seeking the NDP nomination. She currently sits on the Welland Public Library board and city’s Welland Transit advisory committee.

“With my pharmaceutical experience and education in biology and psychology I welcome the opportunity to be an advocate for health care, pharmacare and mental health issues in our community,” said McGlashan, who holds an honours bachelor of science degree from University of Toronto with majors in biology and psychology including courses in fresh water ecology and genetics.

“As both a social activist and scientist I am interested in environmental protections. With my Council of Canadians colleagues, I was part of a campaign for water protection here in Niagara Centre.”

Former Niagara Centre NDP MP Malcolm Allen said he gave the idea of running some thought, but will not be seeking the nomination. Allen said he was enjoying his life out of politics.

Daniel Peat, president of the NDP’s Niagara Centre provincial riding association, said a number of people have expressed interest in seeking the nomination and that there’s a candidate search committee in place.

Peat said the wide interest is good for the party and the riding, which has been held by the NDP since 1975.

“There’s 42 years of legacy to follow up on here … size 42 shoes to fill,” said Peat.

No nomination date has been set, he said, adding the riding association is hoping to do so soon.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this story seems to underline the problems with the Ontario ndp , Horwath may be doing well in the polls herself but her party not so much, they haven't got a lot of traction in the polls even though wynne is polling historical lows for a sitting premier and the ndp haven't won a by election since 2014

they now have 4 open ridings to try and hold onto in the next election ( which is alot for a small party ) . but some of these mpp's I don't think I'd recognise them if they walked by me . I had barely even heard of Cindy Forster and she's been an mpp since 2011 , what has she done at queens park all these years ?

in Niagara Centre they face a challenge from the pc's as April Jeffs a local councillor is running , in Kenora Rainy river the pc's have found Greg Rickford a former mp , Brampton east will be a huge challenge without Jagmeet Singh and Parkdale high park is also going to be tough and a likely liberal target

I actually think they would of had a better chance to hold some of these ridings during by elections as they seem to do well during those and liberals not so well but the general election will be more challenging
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Welland ndp mpp Cindy Forster retiring

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