Natyshak to represent Essex at Queen’s Park for third term

by Sylene Argent

Last Thursday’s Provincial Election was a bit of a nail-biter for candidates of the Essex Riding as results began trickling in. Incumbent Taras Natyshak (NDP) took the lead, with Chris Lewis (PC) hot on his heels.

  “Did that feel easy? No, that was hard work,” Natyshak told supporters at his election party, which was hosted inside the Belle River Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 399).

“I want to thank, from the bottom of my heart, the people of Essex, who have given me a mandate to represent them again. It is an honour, it is a privilege, it is something I take very seriously. And, I think they know, as their representative, someone who voices their desires, voices their concerns, and presents a vision for a better Ontario, in respectful way.”

Natyshak said he comes from a long-line of great MPPs as predecessors, including the late Bruce Crozier and Pat Hayes.

“That’s the type of representation that I will continue to stride for and that’s what the people can expect. It is my honour, and it will be my honour, to serve them again in this parliament.”

Ontario-wide, with the PCs taking a majority government, Natyshak said the results

were disappointing. With the NDP being the official opposition, however, “We will hold this government accountable for the promises that they made each and every day in the legislature because it is going to make Ontario a better place if we have a stronger opposition that’s ready to fight for our communities.”

Natyshak thanked the Essex Riding candidates, Lewis, Kate Festeryga (Liberal), and Nancy Pancheshan (Green), for putting their names forward, and their teams for their support. He said it is hard to run an election campaign.

Natyshak also thanked his family and his supporters for their backing throughout the campaign.

As far as Highway 3 is concerned, Natyshak said he heard when PC Leader Doug Ford was in the area, he first said he was committed to meeting with local leadership about the thoroughfare, and later that day, committed to finishing the widening from Essex to Leamington.

“We are going to hold him to both of those commitments,” he said. “And they have to happen immediately.”     

According to the unofficial Elections Ontario results, Natyshak received 26,054 votes, which was 48.53 percent of the ballots casted, Lewis received 22,731, Festergya received 3,053, and Pancheshan received 1,853.

“We knew that it was going to be tight,” Natyshak said of the election results. He said the NDP consciously spread out its resources to try to support other ridings.