She’ll still be on the ballot, but Jordan Fleming has decided to withdraw from Collingwood’s deputy mayor race.
When the municipal election candidate list was certified this week following the nomination deadline on Aug. 19, three candidates were on the ballot for the deputy mayor spot: newcomer Fleming, former councillor Tim Fryer and current councillor Bob Madigan.
Of the 18 candidates on the Collingwood municipal election slate putting their names forward for mayor, deputy mayor and council positions for the 2022-2026 term, Fleming, 41, was the only female candidate who isn’t already sitting on Collingwood council.
Fleming was one of five female candidates out of the 18 running for election in Collingwood. Current councillors Deb Doherty, Kathy Jeffery, Yvonne Hamlin and Deputy Mayor Mariane McLeod are all seeking re-election. McLeod and Hamlin are going for the mayor's seat and Doherty and Jeffery are running for one of seven council seats. Of the four female candidates remaining, only three can be elected as two are running for the mayor's seat.
“There were lots of things that made me want to sign up,” Fleming told CollingwoodToday.ca on Thursday.
Ultimately it was a family situation that led her to withdraw.
“My dad has Alzheimer’s. Recently, he’s taken some quick steps in the wrong direction," she said. "My mom is his sole caregiver. I’m at home with four kids. I’m trying to do my best.”
“She needs more help and we can’t seem to get any respite care. I feel like I need to be there for them as much as I can. If anything were to happen, I would have huge regrets,” she said. “Whatever I have leftover, I need to give to my family first.”
Fleming said her having to drop out of the race does speak to some of the reasons women in general, especially young women, tend to not run for political office. Fleming has four children aged three, four, seven and nine. She thought she would have the time to serve as deputy mayor as her oldest three children are in school while her youngest is in pre-school.
She says she thinks balancing having a family definitely impacts why younger people don’t tend to run for council positions.
“Women especially, yes. We have young families and those are typically our priority, as is mine,” she said.
“Perhaps this is a little too early for me to be doing something like (running for office) as I’m an only child with ailing parents,” she said. “I’m learning to try to balance.”
While she’s stepping back now, Fleming doesn’t rule out the possibility of putting her name forward again four years down the road.
“Then, my youngest will be seven and my oldest will be 13. I’d like to be involved so this town can be the best it can be. I’d like my four kids to be able to stay in this community. We love the skiing, the hiking and the trails,” she said. “I think it would be a better time for my family.”
As the candidate list has been certified by the town clerk, Fleming’s name will still remain on the ballot.
Election day is Oct. 24, but advanced voting begins Oct. 8.
This year, Collingwood residents will have the option to vote online anytime between Oct. 8 at 10 a.m. and Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. There will also be paper ballot voting available at the Collingwood Public Library on Saturdays and Wednesdays in October leading up to and including voting day on Oct. 24.
You can confirm you are registered to vote in the Town of Collingwood for municipal and school board elections online at voterlookup.ca.