EDITOR’S NOTE: These are the final profiles of candidates in our series
Neil Wereley has always been interested in politics, but having his name on an election sign wasn’t something he thought about.
But then along came the Sarnia-Lambton Liberals, who were looking for a candidate in the 2108 election and suddenly, the Brockville native became a candidate.
“When the opportunity arose…I took up the mantle It has been an incredible experience.”
Wereley joined the campaign nine days after the writ was dropped. He was sought out by the local association which didn’t have a candidate ready. Wereley is on unpaid leave from his job as executive assistant to London Centre MPP and one-time deputy premier, Deb Mathews.
Wereley’s biography says he had “firsthand experience of the devastation caused by the Mike Harris Conservatives’ cuts to Ontario’s public services like education and health care” as a child. His parents are both teachers. He says it laid the foundation for his belief that government should, can, and must be a force for good in our society.
Wereley, who has in Canadian Politics and Canadian-American Relations, says he was glad to step in to bring the Liberal message in Sarnia-Lambton.
“I have a good appreciation for the work that we’ve been doing and the great progress we have made,” he tells The Independent. “Nobody was expressing that opinion and I thought it was opinion that had to be shared.”
Even though he’s never lived in Sarnia-Lambton, Wereley believes the community is similar to his hometown of Brockville. And he says the most important issues “transcend geographical barriers…A lot of the issues are the same; this is a heavy manufacturing town, we should be securing those jobs so they are available for the next generation, looking after our hospitals…jobs, the economy and care are all important.”
And he thinks it is important to show people the local MPP – Bob Bailey – has been voting against Liberal initiatives that bring money to his riding.
“It’s about transparency.”
While the Liberals ran a distant third in the last election and are unlikely to win the riding, Wereley says the community has been good to him. “Not everybody is planning to support me on June 7, but everybody has been extremely polite.”