Mathyssen dynasty in London-Fanshawe passes from mother to daughter
Published Tuesday, October 22, 2019 3:59PM EDT
LONDON, Ont. - The name “Mathyssen” still represents London-Fanshawe. Voters solidified it Monday evening, by sending first-time MP-elect Lindsay Mathyssen to Ottawa.
She replaces her mother, Irene Mathyssen, who’s served the London area, off and on, for nearly 30 years.
Irene, a London high school teacher, first won an election in 1990 in the now defunct riding of Middlesex. It was during the sweep of the Bob Rae New Democrats.
But a recession, and unpopular policies, led voters to turf out the NDP, including Bob Rae and Irene Mathyssen, in 1995.
For the next decade, Irene would stand for election again and again before her persistence resonated with voters. She was elected as the NDP MP for London-Fanshawe in 2006.
Known for her social justice, women’s advocacy, and commitment to the underserved, she stuck to NDP policies, “They feel vulnerable, they feel abandoned, and the role of an MP is to overcome those barriers."
Throughout her 13 years as an MP, Irene served alone in a London region surrounded by Conservative and Liberal MPs. Yet, she still managed to create change.
In Monday’s vote, the federal NDP ultimately lost 15 seats nationally over the previous election, yet, she believes leader Jagmeet Singh is in a good position to move ahead with NDP policies.
The “balance of power” rides with the party, she says, adding NDP wishes for universal prescriptions drugs, dental and eye care could become reality if the Liberals are willing to make concessions in exchange for NDP support.
However, she makes it very clear a formal coalition is not in the cards, “No, never…because we know, absolutely, the Liberals will take and take.”
The now 68-year-old intends to take a vacation early next year. It will be the first time - ever - she will “not have to return to work right away.”
She also expresses immense pride in her daughter, Lindsay, who she says will be “the best MP this riding ever had.”