Ex-NWAC president says weather, lost mail-in ballots cost her federal Liberal nomination

Michele Audette says she”ll ‘be back’

Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
Former Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) president Michele Audette said lost and late mail-in ballots along with a lack of political experience cost her the federal Liberal nomination for the Quebec riding of Manicougan.

Audette said she lost the nomination by a razor-thin margin to Mario Tremblay, the former mayor of Longue-Rive. Audette said she received 478 votes to Tremblay’s 502.

Audette left her position as president of NWAC to run for the Liberals.

Voting for the Liberal nomination was held in two locations over the weekend and the final tally was announced Sunday, according to a party spokesperson. The Liberal party also allowed for mail-in ballots because of the riding’s large geographical expanse.

Audette said she still plans to work in another capacity for the Liberal party and leader Justin Trudeau despite the loss.

“I am still going to work for Trudeau’s team because we have to get rid of Harper,” she said. “There is always a place in this party where I can bring my passion, my love and expertise.”

Audette said she has already received phone calls offering her new roles, but she plans to take the week off before deciding her next steps.

Audette said she managed to sign up 700 people to the Liberal party and visited more towns and villages than any of the other candidates. She said Tremblay kept his focus on his home community which gave him the boost he needed to clinch the nomination.

“This guy, what he did, he sold his memberships…in his municipality and it is a small community, a small place, so he was able to raise that membership,” she said.

Audette said weather and lost or delayed mail-in ballots proved her undoing.

“We had storms over here, some voting mail came too late,” she said. “Some got lost.”

Audette said she was initially saddened by her loss.

“I was very, very sad…I was emotional. I let myself cry, but I was also very proud at the same time of all the work we did,” she said.

Audette said she believes her campaign over-extended itself.

“The people with experience told me, ‘Michele, keep your borders close,’” she said.

The loss, however, has not quenched her appetite for electoral politics and she plans to run again when the opportunity arises.

“I will be back,” said Audette. “I told the candidates, ‘Don’t worry I’ll be back when it will be time for another nomination. I will be the first one there and maybe the only one. Now I know how it works and I will be prepared. I had my lesson.”

A Liberal party spokesperson said 1,051 votes were cast in the nomination contest that included four candidates.

NDP MP Jonathan Genest-Jourdain currently holds the riding.

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