By Jessica Lovell
Local provincial Conservative party candidate Anthony MacDonald is down, but not counting himself out after an accident at Flamboro Downs last Wednesday.
“I’m not going to be dancing, but I’m going to be back walking in no time,” said MacDonald.
The successful harness racer decided to venture into politics because of the province’s decision to end the Slots-at-Racetracks funding arrangement. He has continued with a busy racing schedule since his acclamation as Guelph’s Conservative candidate last fall, but has now also begun the campaign-type work of canvassing local neighbourhoods.
All of that has had to stop for the time being, after MacDonald’s horse took a tumble Wednesday night. Another driver was unable to avoid hitting MacDonald, and while neither horse was injured, both drivers will be out of the races indefinitely. “I can’t get out of bed right now,” said MacDonald, reached by telephone Friday morning.
Besides a bruised shoulder and elbow, MacDonald has injured the muscles and ligaments in one hip joint. He is able to stand, but not walk, he said.
But his greatest concern was for his brother, who he watched go down in a racing accident just over a week ago, and for the driver who hit MacDonald on Wednesday, Brad Forward. Both MacDonald’s brother and Forward suffered broken ankles, MacDonald said.
While injuries are not uncommon in the sport, this is MacDonald’s first serious one, but he feels he was relatively lucky.
“I’ve been driving 15 years, and I’ve never been hurt seriously,” he said.
Because he can still sit, MacDonald said he’d like to be driving. But given that he’s not able to lift himself onto his racebike, he opted to sit out of the races he was supposed to have taken part in over the weekend.
He also postponed any canvassing he’d had planned.
“I was supposed to be canvassing the last few days,” he said. “I feel like I’ve let the party down a little.”
His doctor has not given him an exact timeline for his recovery. He expects to be “walking with crutches or a cane within the next week,” he said.
If that doesn’t pan out, his doctor will refer him to a specialist for more exhaustive testing, he said.
Either way, he’s not worrying that his injury will affect the race should an election be called suddenly.
“I don’t think about the election; I think about talking to as many people as I can about what’s going on,” he said of his campaign strategy.