The next leader of the Ontario PC party dined at the Morrisburg Legion last week, but as of yet, who the leader of the province’s official opposition party will be has not yet been decided.
This leadership bid is to replace Tim Hudak, who resigned when the Ontario Liberals won a majority government in the June election.
October 8, the Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry riding association hosted a harvest supper fundraiser, here in Morrisburg and all five leadership candidates were in attendance including Monte McNaughton, MP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, Barrie MP Patrick Brown, former North Bay mayor Vic Fedeli, MPP for Whitby-Oshawa Christine Elliott and Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod.
This was the first event where all five were in attendance.
“It all starts right here in Morrisburg,” said Eric Duncan, who emceed the evening’s event.
Each of the candidates wasgiven five minutes to address the crowd packed with party supporters and area dignitaries.
All spoke about the great need to re-build the party, which now has only 10,000 members, but at one time had as many as 105,000 members.
McNaughton, spoke about how the party is “too top down, explaining that during the last two elections, a few party insiders have come up with disastrous election planks. “It’s killing us,” he said. He would like to see the party membership have much more say by way of voting on an election platform. “That will help us win government in 2018.”
“I have seen us lose elections we should have won,” said Brown. “There is nothing more frustrating than watching us shoot our own feet. We need to play as a team in this party. The fact that our membership is at an historic low speaks volumes.”
“I’m tired of losing elections too,” said Fedeli. “We need to restore our pride in being Progressive Conservatives. He called June’s election, a disaster. His bid for party leadership is based on putting Ontario first, and being open to all ideas, no matter which party they come from.
Elliott spoke about the need to rebuild the party from the outside in and from the inside out. Newcomers, young people and women need to be encouraged to join the party. “We need to reach out to all members,” she said.
McLeod, who has the support of local MPP Jim McDonnell in her leadership bid, said that the months following the June election have been the most difficult in her political career. With the PC loss, she felt that she let a lot of people down.
“We built Ontario,” said MacLeod. “We need a strong PC party so we can have a strong Ontario.” She encourages all party members to be active in this leadership race.
The leadership campaign officially starts November 8, 2014. Voting will take place May 3 and 7, 2015.
In order to vote, party membership needs to be purchased by February 28, 2015, and be in good standing.