Candidates canvass Essex Riding

by Sylene Argent

With the 2019 Canadian federal election expected to take place on or before October 21, 2019, local candidates vying to represent the Essex Riding at the House of Commons have been busy going door-to-door in hopes of garnering enough support to win the election. They are also providing information about their party’s platform and are listening to resident concerns. 

  Audrey Festeryga is again running at the federal level for the Liberal Party. Her first attempt was in the 2015 federal election. Festeryga’s Campaign Headquarters is located at 34 Talbot Street North in Essex Centre, which can be reached by calling (519) 968-3323. She can also be reached via

  While on the campaign trail, Festeryga said she has been talking to residents about what matters most.

  She said people are concerned about the Doug Ford cuts to social services and education, and do not want to see a return to Harper-era cuts to science and the environment. They’ve noticed that the NDP are ineffective, she added.

  “Residents continue to identify jobs, economy, and environment as priority issues. The Liberal Party is the only choice this October that will focus on moving Essex progressively forward for everyone, with effective representation.”

  Festeryga was raised on a farm in Essex County. She returned to Essex after university and law school to raise a family, build a law practice, and support the community.

  “I beat breast cancer and have been advocating for Essex behind the scenes for the last four-years, including the federal green energy rebate on the hybrid Chrysler Pacifica and shovel-ready infrastructure projects for our municipalities,” she said.

  Bill Capes is running for the newly formed People’s Party of Canada (PPC). His campaign can be reached through its website as well as via email at or

  Capes was born and raised in Windsor. He has lived in the County for 17-years; in Harrow for 10-years and in Belle River for the past seven-years. He is a multi-trade machining professional by trade and currently works as a machine leader at Southwest Manufacturing Inc.

  According to his website, Capes believes the People’s Party is a once in a lifetime opportunity to do politics differently and engage with those who have been disenchanted by years of backroom deals and disingenuous politicians who say one thing and do another.

  Capes, as a first-time candidate, said “Canvassing has been a fantastic opportunity to listen to the concerns of the people of Essex County, such as the high cost of living, being over-taxed, being tired of empty promises, and feeling ignored as citizens.

  “The question is often raised as to why our Country’s money is being sent overseas when our citizens’ needs are not being met at home. Essex County citizens want positive change. Representing the needs and prosperity of our citizens is why the People’s Party of Canada came to be. All Canadians want positive change. It is what all Canadians deserve. Our platform will deliver on that promise.”

  Chris Lewis is contending in the federal election as the Essex Riding’s Conservative candidate. He has been knocking on local doors for two straight elections as he just wrapped up the provincial 2018 campaign, where he came in at a close second to MPP Taras Natyshak by around 2700 votes as the PC candidate.

  His Campaign Headquarters is located at 186 Talbot Street South Essex (In the same facility as the Essex Medical Centre). He can be reached by calling (226) 946-1055 or via email at

  Lewis said he and his team have knocked on over 17,000 doors so far this year. At the doorstep, affordability is the main issue he is hearing from area residents. 

  People are getting tired of paying more taxes and spending mismanagement, he noted, adding he will vote to make life more affordable and to help families get ahead and not further behind.

  Lewis has been married to his wife, Allison, for 20-years and is the father of three teens. He has been a member of the Kingsville Fire department and chaired the Master Fire Planning Committee. He also previously served as a representative on Kingsville Council.

  Incumbent Tracey Ramsey is seeking a second term as Essex’s MP. She won the 2015 federal election, dethroning then Conservative member, Jeff Watson, as the representative of the NDP Party.

  Ramsey said canvassing has been both encouraging and in some cases heart wrenching.

“I hear every day that seniors are struggling to maintain their quality of life. Their fixed incomes are being stretched to the limit and they are having trouble affording basic things like their medication.

“There is a lot of apprehension about the 3rd shift at Windsor Assembly and the loss of the Nemak plant is causing anxiety for working families,” she said.

She added people from every part of the County are watching historically high water levels and fear the potential loss of their homes and property.

After decades of Liberal and Conservative governments, she added, people are worried about what the future holds. “At the door, I’m humbled by their confidence in me to keep fighting for them as their MP in Ottawa and I am absolutely dedicated to addressing all of their issues in the upcoming Parliament on behalf of the great people of Essex. “

Her 2019 election Headquarters is located inside the No Frills Plaza in Essex Centre.

The Essex Free Press was unable to determine at this point who was running for the Green Party.