Fox to carry Liberal banner in Perth-Wellington riding

  • Council   Friday, May 13, 2022   Matthew Harris

The Ontario Liberal Party has nominated Ashley Fox as their candidate for the Perth-Wellington riding in the upcoming provincial election.

Fox, a registered practical nurse as well as a nurse case manager and community outreach coordinator with Promyse Home Care in Kitchener-Waterloo who calls Palmerston home, says that one of her top priorities should be elected will be to push for improved health care across the province. A problem that reaches back to well before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fox says things need to get better to fix long-standing problems.

“I’ve worked on the front lines during this pandemic, and I can tell you that the issues we faced were made worse by the under-funding we experienced before the pandemic happened,” she said. “A disservice has been done to seniors, as well as students. We haven’t made either of those groups a priority.”

Part of the Liberal platform is aimed at repealing Bill 124, and Fox said that piece of legislation makes it hard to recruit and retain doctors and other health care workers. She pointed to recent staffing shortages in Clinton and St. Marys forcing the suspension of medical services at hospitals in those communities as proof that bill does more harm than good.

She also made a point of using her lengthy experience in nursing to back up her point. Primarily rooted in senior care, Fox’s work has included her volunteering with the Region of Waterloo Public Health Unit to assist in COVID-19 vaccinations in local retirement communities and long-term care homes. She has also a two-term board member of the College of Nurses of Ontario, providing leadership in governance and health regulation.

Lest one thinks that Fox is a one-trick pony, she acknowledges that education and housing affordability are also key issues for her during this campaign. Being from a smaller rural community as well as a first-time home owner, she knows the challenges people are facing trying to make ends meet.

“I believe that being able to hear from people in your community is important, especially now because we haven’t always had the best relationships with our government reps in the past,” she said. “I want the people that I represent to know they’re being heard. Lots of people are looking for reliability and relatability – politicians can be on a different level and don’t always know what it’s like on the ‘ground level’ like most of the population is. I’m a first-time home owner and a soon-to-be mother as well. I see the struggles that everyone is going through and I want them to know I understand what it’s like.”

While outsiders may see Fox’s later nomination in the riding as a potential roadblock, as both Jo-Dee Burbach for the NDP and Matthew Rae for the Conservatives have been known as their party’s choices for nearly a month before Fox was announced, she doesn’t see that as a detriment to her campaign. She’s banking on the fact she’ll be able to build relationships across the riding as she goes along and works towards the June 2 election.

“People in the northern part of this riding known me well, and I believe the closer we get to election day it will be important to keep reaching out to everyone in Perth-Wellington,” she said. “I want to get my message out, and I think people are noticing the importance of this election, so I don’t see this as a problem at all.”

It’s that desire to represent the whole riding – the urban parts as well as the rural ones – that is fueling Fox’s push to the finish line.

“If there’s anything that this pandemic has really shown us is that health care and senior care are absolutely vital in this province, and we need to make sure we have the policies and legislation in place to ensure it is a priority,” she said. “And as someone who grew up in this riding, I know this is one of the most productive agricultural regions in Ontario. We need a government that acknowledges and cares about our rural public education, our environmental concerns, and protecting land use.”