Six questions with Nicole Florent, candidate for Portsmouth District

Editorial note:

Across the province, Ontarians are getting ready to cast their ballots in every city, town, and county as the 2022 Municipal Election is fast approaching. With election day on Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, Kingstonist has reached out to all candidates within the City of Kingston to create profiles allowing voters to find a brief overview of each candidate in one place. As response comes in, more and more candidate profiles will be added here, which you can access through our Municipal Election 2022 section (with the tab on the homepage), or through our ‘Candidate overview landing page.’

With 45 candidates in total for Kingston City Council alone – and with only one district acclaimed (Countryside District will once again be represented by Gary Oosterhof) and six districts without an incumbent – our goal is to provide as much information as possible leading up to the elections. Thus, we will endeavour to collect response from as many Kingston candidates as possible, with the hope of providing similar coverage for Loyalist Township, Frontenac County, and the Town of Greater Napanee moving forward. All relevant links will be available under the Municipal Election 2022 tab.

For more general information on election process in Kingston, including details on electing Board of Education Trustees, ensuring you are registered to vote, etc., visit the City of Kingston Municipal Elections webpage.

Candidate profiles are being published on our website in no particular order.

Nicole Florent, candidate for Portsmouth District in the 2022 City of Kingston municipal election. Submitted photo.

Nicole Florent has lived in Portsmouth District for the past 39 years, and is ready to represent the population not only of the district, but of the City as a whole. While Florent has not run for Kingston City Council in the past, she has taken an interest in many causes and events in the Kingston area, and has served on the Board of the College of Nurses of Ontario, for two terms (six years), as well as on numerous committees in her hometown of Ottawa, and here in Kingston.

Portsmouth, currently represented by Councillor Bridget Doherty who is not running for re-election, has the most candidates of any Kingston district in the 2022 election, with a total of seven people vying for the position.

A retired Registered Nurse, Florent calls herself a “lifetime learner.” She currently holds a BA with a minor in Health (Queen’s), MPA (Queen’s), and LLM (Queen’s), and has published a book Walk, Hike or Jog Kingston, 2001.

With five grandchildren, Florent and her partner travel across the country every year for quality family time. She also enjoys physical activities, such as skydiving and parasailing, which, she says “compensates for working in high stress jobs.”

How would you describe your personal political ideology and/or affiliation?

I believe in positive politics:

  1. No attacks on other candidates.
  2. Working together and coming to a consensus with all stakeholders.
  3. Meaningful transparency and participation of all in municipal decisions.

What made you want to run in this municipal election?

I felt compelled to “jump in” now, because:

  1. I feel that City staff and City Council seem to make decisions without knowing the District where they are happening, ie. made from the office desk.
  2. I learned that consultation with residents was not only insufficient, but that petitions of 1,800 or 3,800 were disregarded.
  3. I feel that opportunities (eg. business) or responsibilities (homelessness) should be shared equally between the 12 Districts.
  4. By and large, I note that developers in Kingston do not seem to make any concessions on their initial proposals (eg. height, distance to curbside, unnecessary removal of trees, meaningful green spaces on their property.) Developers are valued stakeholders, but they should work collaboratively with residents.

What are the three most common issues voters are bringing up to you as you campaign?

  1. Affordable housing and homelessness.
  2. Climate change, and tree canopy policies and practices to improve our emissions stats.
  3. Healthcare: although it is a provincial responsibility, municipalities can play an active role in recruitment.

What three issues are most pressing/important to address locally, in your opinion?

In addition to the three issues above, I feel that we should consider the needs and resources of all 12 Districts in Kingston. Kingston also needs to develop tourism and new commercial partners — the pace has been too slow for many years.

What is the most pressing issue in your district?

  1. Transparency and meaningful involvement of residents: I would like to avoid a patriarchal approach or “father knows best.”
  2. Affordable housing and homelessness: we need a multi-pronged approach in order to address the needs of the homeless, including developing a continuum where people can move up to a better existence as their problems are addressed. eg. tents – shelters – tiny houses – transition housing – affordable housing – regular housing

What do you feel sets you apart from other candidates?

  • I have a wide range of life experiences and have visited many countries and cities which could provide lessons (or not!) for us.
  • I have spent time in all 10 provinces, as well as Nunavut.
  • I have a solid background in public policy and legal issues.
  • I have worked with a wide range of individuals, cultures, organizations, and levels of administration, from frontline to senior and Board levels.
  • My strength is in-depth research and analysis of issues, however, I can quickly pivot to emergency mode when needed.

For more information on Nicole Florent, candidate for Portsmouth District in the 2022 municipal election, visit her website, email her at [email protected], or get in touch via phone (613) 389-7121 or fax (613) 549-4070.

With files from Cris Vilela.

One thought on “Six questions with Nicole Florent, candidate for Portsmouth District

  • I find her approach refreshingly democratic and collegial in direct opposition to our current municipal and provincial governments.

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