Sometimes the brain trust at party headquarters, any political party, think they have it all figured out and sometimes they run into a buzz saw. That appears to be what happened in Haldimand-Norfolk where Bobbi-Ann Brady will now sit for the next four years as the only independent member of the Ontario Legislature.
It all started in April with the party’s clumsy mishandling of the decision by PC MPP Toby Barrett to retire after holding the seat for 27 years through seven elections. Without giving Barrett a heads up the party put out a notice that Haldimand Mayor Ken Hewitt would be the candidate, followed by Hewitt with a similar announcement. Barrett hadn’t even notified his constituents when the announcements were made. Not only that, but the PC announcement of Hewitt’s candidacy made no mention of Barrett, no thank you, nothing.
Within a week Bobbi-Ann Brady, who worked for Barrett as his constituency assistant, was the riding resident and who had managed several of Barret’s campaigns, announced she would run as an independent candidate and in a switch of roles—Barrett would be her campaign manager,
“We’re standing up for Haldimand-Norfolk and we’re sending the premier and the party a message that they can’t just take the people of this riding for granted,” Brady said. “People in the riding have spent a lot of time raising money and building the party here and we won’t be disrespected.” Hewitt’s Conservative bona fides were also called into question. In 2007 Hewitt ran unsuccessfully to be the federal Liberal candidate in Haldimand-Norfolk.
The Ontario PC Party has twice recognized her as Outstanding Campaign Manager and Outstanding Riding Association president.
On election night it was Bobbi-Ann who came out on top, defeating Hewitt by more than 2,000 votes.
Bobbi-Ann’s biography as it appeared on her website reads, “Growing up in Delhi, Bobbi Ann is a graduate of Delhi District Secondary School and has a diploma in Broadcast Journalism. She spent several years working in the fields of Norfolk County, worked in retail, is a small business owner and a freelance journalist.
“Bobbi Ann has been a provincial and national gold medalist in the sport of kickboxing and has represented Canada on the world stage. When Bobbi Ann isn’t solving a problem or lending a hand to someone in need, she can be found in arenas, playing or spectating, or in the dojo where she is working toward her black belt in karate. She also enjoys cycling and working outside on her rural property. An avid reader, Bobbi Ann enjoys unwinding at the end of the day with a good novel rich with history, mystery, and memory.”
Some people you just don’t mess with.