Mary Rita Holland, a current member of Kingston City Council, is seeking the NDP nomination to represent Kingston and the Islands for Ontario’s NDP in the 2022 provincial election.
“I’m running for a future full of hope and possibility in the face of serious challenges like COVID-19, climate change, and growing inequality,” Holland stated. “I am committed to improving affordable and sustainable housing in Kingston. My background, researching and teaching in the area of public health and long-term care, drive me to help make important changes in Ontario.”
Ian Arthur, the current MPP for Kingston and the Islands, announced in December 2021 that he will not be seeking re-election in 2022. In a social media announcement, he stated that he will focus on pursuing business opportunities in Kingston, particularly in the housing sector.
Holland has represented the Kingscourt-Rideau district on City Council since 2014. She has served on a range of committees and boards, including the KFL&A Board of Public Health and Kingston Access Services. She co-chaired the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing, and she has also served on the Housing and Homelessness Advisory Committee, as well as the City’s Environment, Infrastructure, and Transportation Committees.
“Leadership is about stepping up in critical moments,” Holland explained. “Local progress is often restricted by provincial legislation or funding limitations. I am excited by the prospect of bringing about the structural changes necessary to ensure that everyone can thrive in our community and beyond.”
With regard to her current position as a member of Kingston City Council, Holland said that it is a little premature for her to say how the possibility of her becoming the local MPP would impact that role, however, she quickly pointed out that the municipal election and the provincial election this year are timed such that it seems there would not be any overlap of the two positions. She underlined that, at this point, she is solely running for the nomination to represent the NDP in Kingston and the Islands, and is not the official candidate at this time, and disclosed that she will not be running again in the upcoming municipal election.
So, why is Holland returning to the provincial political arena?
“I’ve always been interested in provincial politics,” Holland expressed, noting that she had considered running to represent the NDP in Kingston and the Islands in 2018, however, felt the timing was off, as she was completing her PhD studies at the time.
“I’ve really enjoyed the municipal work, as well. It’s been a really great experience for me, and I feel like I’ve been able to make some good contributions,” she continued.
“My background is in health policy, and I’ve been teaching at Queen’s in that area. I’ve always had an interest in doing work in areas that are in the provincial jurisdiction… So, I can’t say that I’ve ever stopped wanting to do the work at Queen’s Park,” she said.
Holland is familiar with the role having run provincially in Kingston and the Islands in 2011 and 2014.
“I love working for the community and will bring compassion and experience to the job. It is vital that Kingston and the Islands continue to have a passionate and progressive NDP representative at Queen’s Park,” she stated. “Over seven years as a City Councilor and President of the Ontario NDP, I’ve demonstrated strong leadership, positivity, and a capacity to bring people together.”
The date of the Kingston and the Islands nomination meeting is to be determined.
With files from Tori Stafford.