Leadership candidate Michael Chong campaigns in Orangeville

May 12, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

Wellington-Halton Hills MP Michael Chong spoke over the weekend at Orangeville’s Mad Hatter pub, conversing with residents on his Conservative Party leadership campaign.

He announced his leadership bid a year ago, after former leader Stephen Harper stepped down. The election will take place on May 27.

In an interview with the Citizen, Mr. Chong discussed his overall platform and policies, saying he’s running for leadership because the Party needs a change in direction.

“We should keep our physically conservative policies; balance budgets, lower taxes, but we need to change with respect to other policy issues…  and we need to be a lot more open and democratic as a party.”

Mr. Chong explained that the Conservative Party needs to grow, be better on environmental policy, and build a bigger coalition by re-earning the support of immigrant voters, and voters in Atlantic Canada.

He described his vision of Canada as more prosperous, greener and democratic; speak directly to issues millennial voters care about, and rebalance power in Ottawa.

“Give power back to ordinary voters, as well back to ordinary elected members of Parliament, so they can represent their constituents better on the floor in the House of Commons.”

He used Justin Trudeau’s broken promise on electoral reform as an example of a need for change. “We have to hold accountable for that broken promise, but at the same time, come forward with real constructive ideas to reform our system.”

Asked about Motion 103 and how it was that he and Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton were the only Conservative MPs voting in favor of it, Mr. Chong said he believes in a Canada where everyone, regardless of race or religion, should be treated as equal.

“Leadership means speaking up and saying that’s wrong, and that it’s a fundamental Canadian value to defend freedom of worship and freedom of expression,” he explained.

Motion 103 was first brought forward by Mississauga – Erin Mills Liberal MP Iqra Khalid. It calls for the government to condemn Islamaphobia in Canada, and other forms of racial and religious discrimination. In March, it was passed by a vote of 201-91.

As Wellington County is beside Dufferin, and he attended Fergus High School, Mr. Chong recalled “as a teenager coming here to Orangeville to play against Orangeville Secondary and Shelburne, in rugby and soccer.”

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