Lance Holdforth – Barrie Examiner 
The youngest candidate to not run in a provincial election stopped in Barrie to shake hands and shake up the campaign trail, Thursday.
Penelope, whose family didn’t want her last name published, arrived at Memorial Square armed with a keen sense of the environment and what it takes to preserve it, and the eight-year-old Toronto native said she isn’t taking no for an answer.
“I’m here to make sure that on election day adults think about protecting the environment when they vote for my future,” she said. “Will they commit to protecting clean air, clean water and green energy and the Green Belt and I will be making a report card about how well they are doing.”
Although voters can’t actually vote for Penelope in the fall election, ‘campaign manager’ Adam Scott said she has taken a professional approach to the experience. “We’re dong a non-partisan campaign to make sure the environment is a bigger issue during the Ontario election,” he said. “We talked about doing a campaign and Penelope was really interested.”
Penelope launched her campaign at Queen’s Park in Toronto on Sept. 1, and will visit Ottawa, Guelph and other cities throughout the province to inform Ontarians about green initiatives such as wind farms, solar power and clean-water programs.
“I will be meeting the political candidates and asking them questions,” she said. “I have not met them yet, so I cannot judge.” Scott said people have been receptive to Penelope because, although she is young, her knowledge raises some eyebrows. “Penelope is running as a candidate that can’t run,” he said. “Penelope is providing a really excellent perspective of an eight-year-old, which I think is really refreshing for people to hear and it cuts through the noise of an election.”
With the campaign motto “you can’t really vote for a kid, but you can vote for her future,” Penelope has visited solar-panel factories and windmill farms for a hands-on knowledge of how new technology can help preserve greenspace.
“They’re picking a new premier and the decision right now is about not paving over the green belt,” she said. “But maybe the new premier would like to pave over it.” Scott said after a trip to the Rouge Valley Park and a tour of Holland Marsh, Penelope’s goal became clear to the team.
“Our goal is to make sure during the election people pay attention to environmental issues,” Scott said. For more information, visit www.penelope4ontario.ca.