Tilson not moving aside for O’Leary, or anyone else

March 16, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Bill Rea

In terms of his political career, Dufferin-Caledon MP David Tilson is staying put for now.

Rumours have been circulating this week that Conservative Party leadership hopeful Kevin O’Leary is eying Mr. Tilson’s seat.

It was reported on the blog that there were rumours that executives in the local Conservative riding association have been discussing a possible bid by Mr. O’Leary to replace Mr. Tilson.

“I don’t know how these things get going,” Mr. Tilson declared. “I’m not giving up my seat for Mr. O’Leary or anyone. That’s definite.”

Mr. Tilson, who will be marking his 76th birthday Sunday, said he hasn’t made up his mind on whether he will be a candidate in the next federal election, expected in the fall of 2019.

“I haven’t decided what I’ll do,” he said, adding that decision likely won’t come until some months before the actual election.

Mr. Tilson said he had heard nothing about the rumour until a colleague from eastern Ontario asked him about. “I’ve never even met Mr. O’Leary,” he said.

He seemed almost amused that the idea had been raised.

“It’s a delicious story, of course. If Mr. O’Leary wants to come and represent this riding, he’s going to have to wait for me to leave,” Mr. Tilson observed

In terms of the leadership race, Tilson confirmed that he’s backing Michael Chong, from neighbouring Wellington-Halton Hills.

“Michael’s a long-time friend of mine,” Mr. Tilson said. “He’s a bright young man.”

The matter was news to the local federal Conservative riding association.

“I have no idea where the rumour originated and had never heard of the blogger who tried to breathe life not it,” association President Steve Cavell said in a statement.

He also pointed out that Mr. Tilson was elected MP and has served the riding well.

“And he does this with the full support of the riding association board of directors,” Mr. Cavell stated. “That support extends to the end of the current term and beyond if he wishes.”

And the O’Leary camp doesn’t seem interested in moving Mr. Tilson out.

“It’s a rumour,” Mr. O’Leary’s Press Secretary Ari Laskin said, adding their effort is competely focused on the leadership race. “We’re not focusing on any riding.”

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