News tip? Email

Advance polls begin as five candidates in race to become next Huron-Bruce MP

September 10, 2021

The advance polls have begun as voters in the riding of Huron-Bruce prepare to choose their next Member of Parliament (MP) from among five candidates who have put their name in the ring.

In Kincardine, there was a line-up Friday, to get inside the Legion Hall and vote ahead of election day, Sept. 20. The advance polls continue tomorrow (Sept. 11), Sunday (Sept. 12) and Monday (Sept. 13), from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., in the Kincardine Legion Hall.

The five candidates on the ballot, in alphabetical order, include:


An education and community leader, Jan Johnstone (right) of Kincardine has deep roots in Huron–Bruce, where she and her husband, Gordon, have lived for more than 30 years and raised three girls.

“I’m thrilled to put my name forward to serve the community I love,” she says. “I’ve dedicated my life to improving the lives of those who call Huron–Bruce home, and I’m ready to take that dedication to Ottawa.”

Johnstone is an experienced leader with a proven record of strengthening public education by working with parents for school renewal, improving learning outcomes, expanding the role of students in shaping education, and standing up for the most vulnerable students.

She has been re-elected as the school trustee for Kincardine and Huron-Kinloss for more than 20 years and currently serves as the vice-chairperson of the Bluewater District School Board. She is also a recognized provincial education leader, as she is a director of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, where she chairs the program work committee.

“The NDP has a plan to make life more affordable for everyday people, including our students and youth,” says Johnstone. “The NDP has a plan for student debt forgiveness, lowering post-secondary tuition, providing affordable child care for all, and many other life-changing commitments for Canadians.”

In addition to her extensive background in education, Johnstone is an active member of the Huron–Bruce community. She is the vice-president of the Kincardine Scottish Festival and Highland Games, a community event attracting more than 12,000 visitors and generating almost $2-million for the local economy.

She actively participates in many local health and sustainability initiatives and is a long-time supporter of the trade union movement. In 2017, she was officially recognized as one of Bruce County’s Remarkable Women.

Johnstone is a long-time member of the Huron–Bruce NDP executive and has served as the riding president, provincial council, and voting delegate at both federal and provincial conventions. Presently, she is the Huron–Bruce riding association’s representative on the NDP’s provincial council.

“The Huron-Bruce NDP has been a major part of my life,” she says, “and I’m honoured to be Huron–Bruce’s NDP candidate for the 2021 federal election.”

Ben Lobb (left) was first elected to the House of Commons in 2008, and re-elected in May of 2011, October of 2015, and October of 2019.

In the 43rd Parliament, he served as a member of the International Trade Committee. The committee’s work focused on the Canada-United Kingdom Trade Agreement, Canada’s response to COVID-19, and Canadian exports of green technologies. He helped bring the Hensall Co-op to testify before the International Trade Committee while studying the Canada-UK Trade Agreement.

In previous Parliaments, Lobb has served on the Veterans Affairs Committee (VAC), the Agriculture and Agri-Food Committee, and as the chairman of the Standing Committee on Health.

During his time on the VAC, the committee reviewed the Veterans Independence Program which provides benefits to veterans returning from Afghanistan. The recommendations from this report led to many enhancements for wellness, rehabilitation and an opportunity for a productive life after the veterans’ military service was complete.

Lobb is the former chairman of the Government Auto Caucus. He has served on numerous committees since 2008, including the Standing Committees on Human Resources; Transport; Public Safety; and National Security.

Previously, he worked in the finance department for Desire2Lean (D2L) and Wescast Industries in Wingham. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, and hosts two annual minor baseball camps for children in Huron-Bruce, attracting attendees from coast-to-coast.

He and his wife, Samantha, have two sons.

Lobb fully supports the Conservative Party's plan for Canada’s recovery, with a focus on securing jobs, accountability, mental health, the country, and the economy.

“Life has been getting harder for Canadians," he says. "While this election should never have been called, people still have a choice to make. We can choose a Conservative government with a plan to make life more affordable, or we can choose the same government that has spent the past six years making things worse for all of us."

For more about the Conservative plan, visit:


James Rice (above), 27, and his wife, Katie, and daughter, Rachel, live in Hanover but are building a house in Port Elgin. A former resident of Tiverton, he is running for the Liberals in Huron-Bruce to provide this riding with a stronger voice in Ottawa.

“It’s important to stand up for the people of this riding, for the small towns, the farmers and the rural areas,” he says. “The representation we have now is not good enough, and the people of Huron-Bruce deserve better.”

The top three issues, says Rice, are affordable housing, affordable child care, and connecting everybody to high-speed Internet. He says there are programs available through the national housing strategy but Huron-Bruce is not getting the benefit of these programs. 

The $10/day child care program will help families and, particularly, assist women in the workforce who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among other issues, says Rice, are climate change, national long-term care standards, increasing old age security, creating jobs, helping homeowners and small businesses, and coming to terms with Indigenous reconciliation.

As to the election being called in the middle of the Liberal government mandate and in the middle of a global health crisis, Rice says the world has changed a lot since 2019. "Things are going to change dramatically in the next two years as Canada recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, so the voters deserve to have a say in that."

Also, he says that the average length of a minority government is 430 days; prime minister Justin Trudeau’s government lasted about 700 days.

James Rice with his wife, Katie, and daughter, Rachel, on the campaign trail in Tiverton

Rice says he is looking forward to serving the people of Huron-Bruce.

“In my years as a prosecutor and active community member, I’ve learned what it takes to bring people together to find solutions to common problems,” he says. “I’ll bring that experience to the table as your next Liberal MP. I hope I can earn your support in helping Canada move forward – for everyone.”


Justin Smith (right) of Goderich left the People’s Party of Canada and is now running as an Independent candidate in the riding of Huron-Bruce.

“Unfortunately, many Canadians are still clinging to the two-party flip-flop system from Conservatives to Liberals and back to the Conservatives again, because those two are ‘the only ones who have a chance of defeating the other’,” he says.

“I hope that one day, Canadians will break this cycle and instead, vote for the platform that they believe aligns the closest with their beliefs.

“As an Independent, I have the freedom to truly be the voice of the people in my riding, should I be elected.”


Jack Stecho (left), 18, has resided in Goderich for the majority of his life, but has also lived in Exeter, London and Marathon.

He attended St. Mary’s Catholic Elementary School in Goderich and St. Anne’s Catholic Secondary School in Clinton as a member of the French Immersion program. He was honoured with the Senior Constable Bruce Crew Award for “contribution, compassion, and good conduct on and off the court.”

He has played hockey since the age of six, and played for the Provincial Junior Hockey League’s Goderich Flyers and abroad in Poland.

“As a life-long competitive hockey player, with goals of a United States college scholarship, earlier in August, 2021, I was invited to try out for an elite Junior hockey team in Colorado. This was prior to the useless ‘snap’ election called by Trudeau a short time ago.

“Sadly, youth in Ontario are now forced to vaccinate, as hockey teams in this province are now mandating the vaccination to play. In Colorado, unvaccinated athletes are allowed to compete and play where they, seemingly, still believe in personal rights and freedoms.”

Stecho says he planned to run for the PPC in Huron-Bruce, in the 2023 election in two years’ time.

“But due to Trudeau’s irrational decision to call an election, I inherited an unfortunate task to make a decision whether to remain the PPC candidate. After many conversations with party headquarters, we decided the best way forward was to give people in Huron-Bruce the option to vote for freedom and the PPC.

"With much encouragement from the party and the people of Huron-Bruce, I decided to remain on the ballot and represent the PPC which I couldn’t be more honoured to do.

“I care about Canadian culture, traditions, and Canada’s future, and all I can do is ask all of you to vote purple this election!”

Voters line up outside the Kincardine Legion Hall, Friday, the first day of the advance polls for the federal election in Huron-Bruce


Meanwhile the Kincardine and District Chamber of Commerce, and the Saugeen Shores Chamber of Commerce are hosting a pre-filmed All-Candidates Meeting, featuring all five Huron-Bruce candidates for the federal election.

The event will be aired on-line at and Rogers Channel 6, Sunday, Sept. 12, at 8 p.m. The program will be available to view on-line from the initial air date onward.

The meeting is a forum to provide residents with information to help them make a knowledgeable election decision regarding the candidates who best represent them.

The program will be 90 minutes in length and will include introductory and closing remarks from the candidates.

Comment on this story? Click here.

Related Stories

No related stories.