OTTAWA (April 4, 2022)— Over 200 people in Ottawa Centre came together on Saturday to kick off Joel Harden’s campaign to be re-elected as MPP in the 2022 provincial election.
The event featured faith-based leaders and local community and labour activists who spoke to the masked crowd, of working with Harden as a movement-builder and community-focused ally in ensuring seniors in long-term care are not separated from their families, securing an inquiry into the LRT crisis, standing up to Ottawa Convoy occupiers in Centretown, and opposing the clear-cutting of trees to build the new Civic Hospital’s airport-sized parking garage.
“There is a filter I use when I hear people praising me,” said Harden at the campaign launch. “When I hear my name, I hear ‘community.’ Community before cynicism and snark. Community before career. Community comes first. In 2017, we knocked on doors, we got to work, we showed the downtown core that it is possible to vote with your heart and put community first. We put too much faith in politicians. It is about people, and we will be a government accountable to the people - better is possible.”
Harden was a community organizer before his election as MPP for Ottawa Centre in 2018. He currently serves as the Official Opposition critic for Accessibility and Persons with Disabilities. Over the last four years, Joel and a team of dedicated staff and volunteers have been listening to people’s needs, organizing with community leaders, and winning real change at Queen’s Park.
Quotes from the campaign launch
Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton, Ottawa's Reconstructionist Community
“What’s important about being here is to acknowledge and uphold a moral leader like Joel Harden—who knows the importance of justice and walking with humility. I can’t think of a MPP more qualified than my MPP Joel Harden.”
Fae Johnstone, a trans activist, small business owner, feminist, writer and 2SLGBTQ+ advocate
“I met him before he ran for office. He showed up time and time again, riding his bike—and with other people following behind him—to every protest. I’ve seen him show up when there were anti-trans signs in front of our schools. That is what leadership is about.”
Shawn Menard, Capital Ward City Councillor
“I think what people don’t fully understand is that the movements that Joel helped to start still exist today, and thrive. Joel knows the importance of showing up and why you need to keep showing up.
He showed up at Queen’s Park day after day advocating for a LRT inquiry—and he got it. Joel got it done.”
Ariel Troster, communications specialist, advocate and candidate for Somerset Ward City Councillor
“Joel Harden is authentic and compassionate—and part of the movements we are all a part of.”
- Harden is fighting for homes people can afford and real rent control in Ontario, paid sick days, action on the climate crisis and better seniors care, including the successful passage of “Voula’s Law” that protects the rights of family members to visit their loved ones in care homes
- Harden has been a tireless advocate for people with disabilities, ensuring access to crucial services and therapies for people with disabilities during pandemic lockdowns and hosting the first opposition-led public consultation for people with disabilities at the Ontario Legislature
- Harden has helped save Pro Bono Ontario’s Ottawa free legal clinic, spoken up about Ottawa’s opioid crisis and spoken out against acts of hate and police violence
- Harden lives in Ottawa Centre with his family and takes pride in being deeply engaged with his community, whether he’s helping fill sandbags for flood victims or helping local activists keep community gardens open during the pandemic
Campaign Manager for Joel Harden Samiha Rayeda