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CONSERVATIVES MAKE A CHOICE (Posted On: Tuesday, January 11, 2011)

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Before the next federal election campaign begins in earnest, whether it occurs this year or next, members of the Conservative Party of Canada here in the riding of Simcoe-Grey must make a crucial choice. Who will be their nominee to be the next Member of Parliament? They must choose from among a field of three strong, outstanding candidates.

Dr. Kellie Leitch is a pediatric surgeon and associate professor of surgery. Through her practice at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children and in clinics throughout central Ontario, Dr. Leitch has of course devoted her professional life primarily to child healthcare. She is also known as a dedicated activist for the Conservative Party. She has advised the federal Minister of Finance and also authored a report for the federal Minister of Health on issues related to the overall well-being of children. In addition, Dr. Leitch has found the time to volunteer with various organizations including the YMCA, Community Living and The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Dr. Leitch announced her candidacy last September near her second home in Clearview. During a meet and greet event last fall at The Blue Mountain Inn she said: “I want to put my experience in medicine, business and politics to work to serve my community because I believe in the importance of public service.”

Paul Throop is the latest to declare his candidacy. Mr. Throop, who was raised in The Blue Mountains and Collingwood area, is naturally a very active individual. Throughout his sixty-five years he has been involved in a round the world bicycling tour, cross-country skiing and running marathons. Mr. Throop has worked for cross country ski companies, and also served as the executive director for our nation’s Cross Country ski team.. Since the 1980s he has been a volunteer and organizer for both the provincial and federal Conservative parties. Mr. Throop is currently on a leave of absence from his position in Ottawa as Director of Operations on the staff of the Minister of National Defence. In a recent interview Paul Throop stated:” I’m coming back with a very unique set of skills…I have the prerequisites to do this for a couple of terms.” Paul Throop and his wife Heather, along with their two daughters, are enjoying the winter season at the family chalet at Blue Mountain. 

The third candidate for the Conservative nomination, and actually the first to indicate his intention to run, is former Colllingwood mayor Chris Carrier. In early August, Mayor Carrier, who is generally regarded as Simcoe-Grey’s favourite son candidate, announced he would not be seeking re-election to Collingwood Town Council. During a chance meeting with Mr. Carrier in front of a Collingwod coffee shop over the weekend, the former mayor told a mycollingwood.ca reporter that he and his team are continuing to work day and night and are very optimistic about his chances of being the successful Conservative nominee. Like the other candidates, the Carrier campaign operates a website, and is distributing other promotional materials in support of his bid for the nomination. One piece of campaign literature features the headline: CHRIS CARRIER From Simcoe-Grey. For Simcoe-Grey.” Mr. Carrier also points out that of the three candidates, he is the only one ever to have sought and served in any elected office. In his announcement declaration Chris Carrier said: “Over the past 14 years, I have loved serving the citizens of Collingwood, the residents of Simcoe County (16 member municipalities) and the residents of the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority watersheds (18 member municipalities including some from the Counties of Grey, Dufferin and Simcoe).” Among Chris Carrier’s numerous accomplishments as an elected official are: the creation of the Georgian College Permanent College Campus, the Highway #26 Re-alignment due for completion in 2012, $10.4 million in provincial funding for Poplar Side Road and Concession 27/28 local road improvements, and $1.4 million with $800 thousand in both federal and provincial funding for renovations to the Collingwood Regional Airport. Mr. Carrier continued: “I have enjoyed every minute of my time working for you on a local level. Now I’m ready for a new challenge.” Mr. Carrier also told mycollingwood.ca he firmly believes that the job of your representative in Ottawa is to represent YOU. He has lived in the riding for 41 of the 46 years of his life. He grew up on a family farm in Clearview Township. Chris has raised a family in Simcoe-Grey. His 3 children, Sarah (19), Courtney (17) and Michael (12) all attend local schools. He and his wife Colleen both have long established roots in the community.  Until recently, he co-owned and operated a local construction company. He has a firm understanding of all issues, rural and urban, which confront an electoral district as vast and diverse as Simcoe-Grey. Speaking at a recent campaign event Chris Carrier summarized the reasons he wants to be the next MP for our area. “My local experience, community life, of business and political successes and opportunities, provide me with the best qualifications to take your, our concerns to Ottawa… I want to be Simcoe-Grey’s best Local Champion in Ottawa.”

In the days and weeks ahead all political parties and other potential contenders will finalize their plans and select their candidates. And because of the controversial events with profound political implications which have drawn national attention in recent months, there is no question most interesting times do indeed lie ahead for local politics. Therefore, it is incumbent on all of us who live, work and yes play here to: Stay aware; Stay informed; and should you be so inclined, Get involved.

Written by J.Hanlon

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