CORNWALL — Local MPP Jim McDonell has landed in the Christine Elliott camp.
“I am proud to support Christine Elliott for leader of our PC Party,” the Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP announced today.
“Christine brings great wisdom and a tremendous wealth of experience to the position, including being an MPP for nine years, our Deputy Leader, a professional lawyer and a tireless community advocate,” added McDonell in the statement.
“This, and her passionate drive to serve Ontarians and her vision of a better, stronger province are exactly what we need to unite our party and bring the integrity that the premier’s office desperately needs. Under her strong leadership, we will take the fight to this out-of-touch and morally bankrupt Liberal government.”
McDonell told Nation Valley News that he would be choosing between Caroline Mulroney and Elliott, following a visit by Mulroney to Quinn’s Inn in St. Andrews West, Feb. 9. (Some of his constituents may have been under the incorrect impression that McDonell was already an Elliott supporter, after a news broadcast showed old footage of the local MPP seated behind Elliott during her previous leadership run.)
“I’m hopeful we’ll come out of this much stronger,” he said of the latest leadership race to befall his party. Former PC leader Patrick Brown abruptly resigned last month amid unproven allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour levelled at him by two unnamed women. Interim leader Vic Fedeli has since kicked Brown out of the Tory caucus, even as Brown recently announced that he was again seeking the leadership of the party.
The MPP still gives credit to Brown for creating the platform the party is expected to take into the election. “Patrick put a lot of work into it, his heart and soul, and we’re benefiting from that,” said McDonell, who took part in the critical caucus meeting that installed Fedeli as Brown’s interim replacement last month — by conference call while on vacation in Mexico.
The hurried political drama gripping the party comes with Ontario weeks away from the official start of this year’s provincial election, scheduled June 7.
Thousands of registered PC members are slated to vote for their new leader on March 10 — choosing between Elliott, Mulroney, Doug Ford, Tanya Granic Allen, and Brown.
Another prominent local Tory, North Dundas Mayor Eric Dundas, announced his support for Mulroney prior to her St. Andrews West visit.
Russell Councillor Amanda Simard — the nominated PC candidate in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry — was still deciding between Elliott and Mulroney on that occasion. “It’s always about the best, and it just so happens that it’s a woman,” said Simard, when asked if the party should choose a female leader.
Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Caroline Mulroney speaks to a crowd of about 100 party faithful packed into the pub at Quinn’s Inn, Feb. 9. Noting the historic St. Andrews West venue was built by Ontario’s first premier, local MP Guy Lauzon introduced Mulroney as the next premier of the province. Following the abrupt resignation of Patrick Brown, Ontario PC’s find themselves in the midst of a sudden and hurried leadership race to decide who will face off against Premier Kathleen Wynne in the June 7 election. Tories will choose their new leader March 10. Local MPP Jim McDonell has indicated he will support Mulroney’s rival in the race, Christine Elliott. Nation Valley News video