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Arnott, Chong endorse Ontario PC leadership candidate Christine Elliott

Endorsement - Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott, left, and MP Michael Chong offered their endorsement to PC Party leadership candidate Christine Elliott on Nov. 14 in Fergus.    photo by Mike Robinson

Arnott, Chong endorse Ontario PC leadership candidate Christine Elliott

by Mike Robinson

FERGUS - Ontario PC Party leadership hopeful Christine Elliott has the endorsement of federal and provincial politicians in Wellington-Halton Hills.

Momentum for Elliott’s campaign has been gaining over the last few months, with thousands of supporters, including former premier Bill Davis, joining her team.

The local endorsement officially came on Nov. 14 at Fraberts Fresh Foods in Fergus. Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott thanked Fraberts’ owners for the use of the store as a backdrop for the announcement.

Guests at the announcement included numerous municipal councillors, PC riding association president Glenna Smith, Anthony MacDonald (PC candidate for Guelph in the last election) and Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones.

“We are here to talk about a very special lady who has made a commitment to become the next leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party,” said Jones, who worked on two legislative committees with Elliott.

Wellington-Halton Hills MP Michael Chong said, “It’s clear that our province is in trouble. We were once the economic powerhouse of confederation ... Ontario was once the richest and most prosperous province in this land. Sadly today, that is no longer the case.”

He added, “For the past several years ... Ontario has become a have-not province.” He explained Ontario now receives federal transfer payments, “which means that people from provinces such as Newfoundland and Labrador, like Saskatchewan and Alberta transfer money to Ottawa - to be transferred back to Ontario ... to make up for the shortfalls of this province ... [Elliott] is the leader who can get Ontario back on track.”

Chong added, “Christine has a vision for this party, to turn it back to its roots and include Ontarians from all walks of life. I’m strongly supporting her leadership and I want all of you to get out there and sign up memberships ... to ensure that she not only becomes the Ontario PC Party leader, but so she can lead the party to victory in 2018.”

Arnott said his decision to support Elliott “was an easy one, because having worked with Christine for the past eight years, I can say without reservation that of all the candidates in the race, she would be the best premier of Ontario.”

Arnott added it was the same reason he supported Elliott’s bid for the leadership in 2009.

“Christine is a professional, who had a distinguished career as a lawyer before she was first elected to the Ontario legislature,” he said, noting Elliott has been a strong voice for Whitby-Oshawa.

“While a resolute defender of conservative principals, including the need to balance the budget and ensure a competitive business climate, she is not a rigid idealogue. She is sensible, practical and she looks for what works.”

He added, “Elliott has always been prepared to reach across party lines if that is what it takes to get things done.

“We need to show Ontarians that we are listening to them, that we understand their concerns, that we are speaking for them in the Ontario legislature, that we are worthy of their trust and that we have the best ideas to bring this province back to greatness.

“To succeed in the next election we need to be able to reach out not only in rural and small town Ontario, but also urban Ontario and the vote-rich GTA.

“We need to show we are ready to govern again. Christine Elliott is exactly what the PC Party and the province of Ontario needs. She is the best choice for leader and as the premier of Ontario.”

Elliott said she is “honoured” to have the endorsements of Arnott and Chong - “two gentlemen I respect and look up to.”

As to the future, Elliott said, “We really don’t need to look idealogically as to what we are all about in this party - whether you are a red Tory, a blue Tory, social conservative - I don’t think that really matters to people anymore. I think what people are really looking for is good sound public policy to deal with the questions and challenges that they are facing.” While being fiscally responsible is one aspect of being a Conservative, it is not the only aspect, Elliott said.

“We also have a long history of being socially compassionate ... but a lot of people have not heard that message from us,” said Elliott, who stressed she did not believe there is a need to reinvent the Progressive Conservative Party.

“The fundamental basics have always been there, we just need to talk more. I feel very confident when we do people will rally to us.” She added, “It’s not as if they voted for the Liberals the last time around, it’s because we frightened them with some of the policies we can forward with.”

Wind energy

Asked for her stand on wind farms, Elliott commented, “we are not talking about specific policies just yet because it is important to listen to all our members first.”

At the same time, Elliott said “there needs to be power within the municipality to deal with the location of wind farms  and not have them foisted upon them.”

Why is she running

“Right now Ontario is in a dismal economic state and there is a huge deficit which is out of control,” said Elliott.

“We need to take economic control of the province before things really spiral out of control. I believe I have the depth of experience to be able to tackle that. I have been in business for a number of years as a practicing lawyer and I have political experience. I know how things work at Queen’s Park.”

But Elliott also pointed to her life experience working with people in her own community and across Ontario.

“I believe that gives me the ability to connect with people and to talk about what matters most to them.” She said as the Ontario PCs work to reinvigorate the party, it is important to have representation people can connect with.

“I think that was lacking in the last few elections.” She added it is important that people “know you are listening to them and that you understand the challenges they are facing.”


November 21, 2014


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