Laferriere seeking municipal seat
PARIS – Local political and social advocate Marc Laferriere says he is taking his message of change from the federal to the municipal scene.
After unsuccessful runs as the standard bearer for the Brant New Democrats in the 2011 and 2015 federal elections, Laferriere has confirmed that he will contest a county council seat in a Paris ward in the Oct. 22 municipal election.
The 36-year-old confirmed Thursday that he will run in either Ward 2 or Ward 3 and will declare his intentions soon.
Laferriere explained that he and his wife, Rebekah, and their two children live on Willow Street, on the Ward 2 side of the boundary line between the two wards and they have lived in both during the decade they have resided in Paris.
He also said in his two federal election forays he campaigned extensively in both wards.
“I love Paris. We have become heavily involved in life here,” said Laferriere, who grew up in Eagle Place in Brantford and has lived in the area most of his life.
Ward 2 is represented by Shirley Simons, who said she intends to run again for council, and Don Cardy, who has announced that he is running for mayor.
Ward 3 is held by councillors John Peirce and Murray Powell, who have not announced their intentions.
Laferriere said he will pursue a campaign focused on fostering social change that reflects the demographic transformation going on in Paris and other expanding Brant communities.
“It is not just a question of providing the physical infrastructure to support growth, it’s also important to foster social infrastructure,” he said.
“We need mechanisms to allow council to hear all the voices in our communities and their needs, more than what the county has traditionally offered. I listen carefully to what people say in our community and there are many who feel they are not really listened to.
“We have had a lot of the same old attitudes on council and nothing is changing. We need fresh eyes and newer councillors who listen to the community and understand it at the grassroots level.”
Laferriere is a justice studies professor at Mohawk College’s school of community and urban studies. He is an award-winning educator and has been featured on a variety of television and print publications discussing issues of mental health, system change and community development.
He is the recipient of the YMCA Peace Medal for his efforts in social work, child and youth work and community advocacy.”
A holder of bachelor and master’s degrees in social work, Laferriere has been a clinical social worker for Woodview Mental Health and Autism Services and previously served in various youth and children’s organizations, and worked at the Grand River Community Health Centre.