Masse coy about possibility of facing Pupatello

Windsor West MP Brian Masse speaks to reporters outside Walker Commons, Windsor, August 15, 2019. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

The race for the federal riding of Windsor West is not on the front burner for the incumbent.

With former Windsor-area MPP Sandra Pupatello expected to announce Friday afternoon that she is going for the nomination of the Liberal Party for Windsor West, it could change the dynamic of the coming federal election and make the riding a key one in the race. Yet the NDP’s Brian Masse, who has represented Windsor West in Ottawa since 2002, isn’t too concerned at the moment about who his opponents may be.

When asked about Pupatello entering the federal race at a media event Thursday, Masse did not mention any potential rivals by name and said it was too soon to discuss a campaign.

“Our election stuff hasn’t been called yet, so I’m essentially ready for an election when it comes,” said Masse. “I’m happy to run against whoever is selected as an opponent for me.”

The election is tentatively set for October 21, so theoretically the majority Liberals may not drop the writ and begin the campaign until sometime in September.

The Liberals are the only major national party to have not yet selected a candidate to run in Windsor West. Masse was acclaimed by the NDP, and he is already facing Henry Lau of the Conservatives and Darryl Burrell of the People’s Party of Canada.

Masse acknowledged Pupatello’s previous track record at Queen’s Park, but when pressed, said the issues will all come out during the campaign, as he feels they should.

“There’ll be time for the differences to be weighed and the comparisons of what people will have, so for me, we still have a lot of work to do,” said Masse.

The MP added that issues pertaining to people in Windsor West such as Ojibway Shores and the new bridge to the US are taking much of his attention, along with assisting constituents with assorted issues.

Pupatello was first elected to the Ontario Legislature in 1995, and after two Progressive Conservative majority governments, became a member of Dalton McGuinty’s cabinet once the Liberals won a majority in 2003, holding several portfolios. She left Queen’s Park in 2011 to take a job on Toronto’s Bay Street and unsuccessfully ran in 2013 for the Ontario Liberal leadership, which went to Kathleen Wynne.