By Mark Squibb | Vol. 8 No. 6 (April 25 2019)
Former NDP candidate Nicole Kieley is the Liberal candidate for the district of Mount Pearl North.
Kieley, who grew up in Mount Pearl, was the NDP candidate in the 2017 by-election, scoring approximately 25 per cent of the votes.
She told The Pearl that in the Liberals, she saw a party that was innovative, engaging, and progressive.
“I would say the reason why I have moved myself to the Liberal Party had a lot to do with my experience at the table over the last couple of years,” she said. “Seeing the response of ministers, and looking at some pretty complex community issues, and being able to finally put action to them, and to engage communities and to engage people in an innovative way, it really just demonstrated to me that the work I had been doing, and seeing how that work within the social sector or even within the community itself, really was being embraced by this government.”
But though she’s changed parties, Kieley said the candidate hasn’t changed.
“My values define me, and I continue to be me. They’re my core… and the ethics and values that ground me were very much welcomed by this party, and that excited me too,” she said.
And her mission, said Kieley, hasn’t changed either.
“At this point what’s so important is having an opportunity to be a strong advocate and to serve, first and foremost, the amazing district of Mount Pearl North, a place I call my home town, and a place that is my roots, and also be able to contribute to the progressive, innovative, and exciting next steps that need to happen when it comes to moving things forward. Basically, elevating what I’ve been doing in the community to a level that offers more impact and offers more opportunities to have a voice around how we want to see our social sectors progress, how we want to see our communities progress, and how we want to best serve the province.”
Kieley said the decision was not without due consideration.
“It was absolutely a thoughtful decision,” said Kieley, noting she consulted with mentors, including from the Liberal Party, family, and friends, to reach the decision she felt best for both herself, and for Mount Pearl North.
“This was a very thoughtful process. What I needed to do was certainly reflect on, first and foremost, what’s in the best interest of Mount Pear North, what’s in the best interest for the people,” she said.
Kieley isn’t concerned the SNC-Lavalin affair, in which Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Office has been accused of obstruction of justice, and tarnished the Liberal brand somewhat across the country, will play much of a role in whether people vote red or not.
“In my experience, I’ve talked to folks that have traditionally voted Progressive Conservative, or voted for another party, who’ve said ‘We’re more interested in what the candidate has to offer,’ so I feel that to be a very important aspect of Mount Pearl. They’re more interested about the desires, integrity, and what the person has contributed. People are more interested in knowing who you are, how you want to serve, your integrity and values, and what you have to offer,” she concluded.
So who is Nicole Kieley?
Kieley is currently the executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre, a position she has held since June of 2013, and is also a board member of Violence Prevention Avalon East.
She has also served as a board chairperson of the St. John’s Status of Women Council from 2012 to 2015, a member of Oxfam Canada from September 2013 to September of 2014, and various other boards and community groups.
Kieley also holds a Master’s degree in Women’s Studies and a Bachelor of Arts, Sociology and Anthropology, both from Memorial University.
She is also a co-owner and co-founder of Escape Quest on Duckworth Street.
Kieley said she is impressed with the number of women who have put her hats in for the nomination, for all parties.