PCs nominate police officer Pete Wiesner to take on anti-police NDP candidate in Hamilton Centre by-election

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The two-decade veteran of the Hamilton Police Service (pictured) will take on local activist Sarah Jama and the Liberals’ Deidre Pike. Photo credit: Ontario PC Party


According to a Friday, February 3 announcement, the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party (PCs) have nominated local police officer Sgt. Pete Wiesner as their candidate in the upcoming Hamilton Centre provincial by-election.

Hamilton Centre runs east-west from Kenilworth Avenue to Highway 403 and north-south from Lake Ontario to the Niagara Escarpment. With Andrea Horwath leaving her previous position to become Hamilton mayor, the provincial riding of Hamilton Centre is currently without an MPP.

A seat can be vacant for up to six months, meaning that Premier Doug Ford must announce byelection plans for the riding by this Wednesday, February 15, 2023.

Andrea Horwath has served as MPP for the area since 2004. She was re-elected to the Ontario Legislature on June 2, 2022, but just weeks later, on July 26, announced that she would be running for Mayor of Hamilton. 

As such, she officially vacated her seat in the legislature on August 15.

Born and raised in Hamilton, Wiesner grew up near Barton and Kenilworth and on the East Mountain. He has served the Hamilton Police Service (HPS) for 22 years and has been the Supervising Sergeant of the Crisis Response Branch since 2019. He was formerly a Corrections Officer at the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre. 

His current role has him working with community partners to respond to issues relating to homelessness, addiction, and mental health.

In 2022 he helped to secure an $8.3 million grant from the Ontario Government for Hamilton’s Crisis Response Program. The funding is being used to partner more community social workers with police during crisis calls across Hamilton.

“I’m excited to connect with the people of Hamilton Centre to share the PC party’s positive vision for our community and all of Ontario,” said Wiesner in a press release.

“Whether it’s securing investments in clean steel at Dofasco or building light rail transit and new roads and highways, there’s so much momentum in Hamilton and Ontario right now. It’s time that Hamilton Centre has a voice in government to help get things done.”

Wiesner is married with two children aged 17 and 18.

He has been involved in baseball and hockey programs, currently serving as an assistant coach for the Hamilton Junior Cardinals U21 baseball team which is the farm team for the International Baseball League’s (IBL) Hamilton Cardinals.

“We’re thrilled to welcome a true community champion as our candidate,” said Michael Diamond, President of the Ontario PC Party. 

Wiesner considers himself a strong advocate for mental health, having seen first-hand the impacts through his own family and work experiences.

Hamilton Centre is normally one of the strongest NDP seats in Ontario, but whenever an incumbent politician leaves their seat election results usually become less predictable.

In October 2022 the NDP nominated controversial Hamilton-based “abolish the police” advocate Sarah Jama.

Jama, 28, has been involved in a number of protests and was even arrested at the site of a Hamilton Police homeless encampment clean-up at a local park. She faced charges, but they were later dropped.

She has tweeted support for “abolishing” and “dismantling” the police, although it appears that those tweets have now been deleted. She is also said to have been involved in an incident at former Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger’s personal residence. In 2020, protestors showed up in the dark at Eisenberger’s home and left a coffin in front of his house, saying that there was blood on his hands. 

They called for an immediate 50 per cent cut to Hamilton Police Service funding and for the money to be diverted to “free housing.”

Hamilton Spectator columnist Deidre Pike, who is a “social justice researcher and consultant”, is running for the Ontario Liberals. She is close friends with former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne. Pike ran in Hamilton Centre in 2018, coming in third place with just below 11 per cent of the vote.

Meanwhile, the Ontario Greens have nominated Lucia Iannantuono, a hardware designer who grew up in Muskoka but moved to Hamilton to study electrical engineering.

In June 2022, Horwath and the NDP received 58 per cent of the vote in Hamilton Centre, the PCs 16 per cent, the Ontario Liberals 13 per cent, and Ontario Greens nine per cent.


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