Ontario PC leadership candidates visit Long Sault

Ontario PC leadership candidates visit Long Sault
Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leadership candidate Christine Elliot addresses the crowd at the annual Easter breakfast hosted by Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell at South Stormont Town Hall on March 28

By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario – Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership hopefuls agree the party needs to hit the reset button.

Two candidates were at the South Stormont Town Hall Saturday (March 28) for an annual Easter breakfast hosted by Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell.

Over 150 supporters of the SDSG PC riding association packed the hall in Long Sault to hear Christine Elliott, the MPP from Oshawa-Whitby, and Patrick Brown, an MP from Barrie, share their views on the party’s future.

Monte McNaughton, the third candidate who would like to replace Tim Hudak as Ontario’s PC leader and an MP from Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, was not in attendance.

Although he has not officially endorsed Elliot, McDonell gave her a warm welcome to the stage, which was in contrast to Brown’s mild introduction.

Both Tory hopefuls discussed life on the campaign trail over the last nine months.

“One thing I’ve heard as we’ve travelled across the province is we absolutely have to win in 2018,” said Elliot. “And it’s because Ontario truly needs us.”

After four successive election losses, she says the party needs to change its tone and direction.

“We’re pretty much a tainted brand for many people across the province of Ontario,” said Elliot.

Brown says the party has to stop squandering winnable elections.

While campaigning in Port Dover Brown , Ont., a few weeks ago, he asked a crowd of supporters, ‘how do we fix the PC party so that we can rebuild Ontario?”

Brown said a nine-year-old boy answered: “The PC party needs to stop passing the puck in front of their own net.”

“Whether it’s 100,000 job cuts or faith-based funding, we have a small group in our party that decides policies and doesn’t listen to our membership,” said Brown.

Elliot slammed the Liberals for creating Ontario’s have-not status over their 12-year reign, a $12.5 billion deficit, and a reported $325 billion debt by 2018.

She says the PC party’s level of social compassion correlates with its strongest asset.

“We need to go back to the true roots of our party – we’re known as good fiscal managers,” said Elliot. “Government cannot, and nor should it be, all things to all people. I believe in strong communities and the power of service clubs like the Lions and Rotary clubs.”

Brown criticized the Wynne government’s planned carbon tax and proposed provincial pension plan.

He says three themes have surfaces as he visits every riding in the province: education, health care, and jobs/economy. He thinks driving down hydro prices is vital to repairing the economy.

“If I was premiere, I would build a transportation corridor to get products to market place, I’d rip up the green energy act because these hydro policies are an unmitigated disaster for Ontario, and I’d cut red tape,” he said.

“Kathleen Wynne did not win that last election, we lost it.

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