Williams calls for Ford-led PCs to oust Liberals in June election

March 16, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

Orangeville Mayor Jeremy Williams is calling for change at Queen’s Park this summer, throwing his support behind new Ontario Progressive Conservative party leader Doug Ford ahead of the June 7 provincial election.

Shockwaves were felt across Ontario last Saturday (March 10) when, late on, it was revealed Mr. Ford had beaten early frontrunner Christine Elliott for the right to lead the PCs into battle with Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Speaking to the Citizen on Tuesday, Mayor Williams stated his belief that Mr. Ford represents much-needed change in Ontario.

“It just seemed to me everyone else in the race was chasing the middle and nothing was really going to change under their leadership. We saw that once before with Patrick Brown and I didn’t want to see it again,” Mayor Williams said. “I strongly feel he brings a new direction and new vision to Ontario politics that is very much needed.”

Mr. Ford made Orangeville his last campaign stop ahead of the vote last week when he spoke to a crowd of more than 100 local residents at the Nifty Nook restaurant on Highway 10. There, he touched on several hot-button topics, stating he would not allow a carbon tax to be instituted in Ontario and that he would seek to repeal and review the province’s new sex education curriculum, before declaring, under his stead, that Ontario would be “reopened for business”.

“Friends, I am here today to assure you that we as a province can do better. We as a province should do better. And, if I’m elected (as the next premier of Ontario), we as a province will do better,” Mr. Ford told local residents. “We will beat down the doors and announce that Ontario is once again open for business.”

Amongst those in attendance was Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones. As deputy leader of the provincial PCs, Ms. Jones remained neutral throughout the leadership process. Still, when speaking to media this week, she admitted she was “a little bit” surprised by the results of the weekend vote. That hasn’t prevented her from throwing her support behind her new leader, noting the importance of a united PC front in the upcoming election.

“Doug’s experience in government, business and his leadership in the community will get the province back on the path to prosperity,” Ms. Jones said. “Doug has energized the PC Party’s grassroots based on a call for respect for taxpayers, and I am looking forward to working with him to defeat the Wynne Liberals.”

She added, “I would like to thank the three other candidates for the PC leadership for their work in growing our party and their efforts seeking the support of our membership. The last two months have been an intense and dramatic time for our party. I am now committed to working with my PC caucus colleagues and nominated candidates to come out of this leadership election united. Ontarians are tired of the 15 years of Liberal waste and mismanagement. We owe it to the people of Ontario to make sure our party delivers a PC government in 2018.”

The local Liberal candidate in the upcoming election, Bob Gordanier, issued a statement following the weekend vote, asserting that  the PCs could no longer call themselves a progressive party.

“There is nothing progressive about them,” Mr. Gordanier said. “They are no longer pretending to be moderate – the Conservatives are fully committed to a right-wing agenda of cuts” under Doug Ford.

Mr. Gordanier cited an article that appeared in Maclean’s magazine by independent economist Mike Moffat in which he determined that the Conservative cuts would mean at least 40,000 fewer jobs in Ontario’s public sector, with nurses, doctors, teachers, university professors and firefighters all expected to be threatened.

“Ford is on the extreme side of Conservatism. He wants to roll it back,” Mr. Gordanier stated, in relation to the recently implemented increase to minimum wage. “Does that mean a pay cut to our lowest paid workers? This is not at all surprising. This is what Conservatives do historically. They always make cuts.”

Green Party candidate Laura Campbell thought Mr. Ford’s election reflects the frustration Ontarians feel toward the Wynne government.

“His brand of populism is trendy right now,” she observed, adding it shows people are ready for change. “So far, he hasn’t actually proposed any concrete ideas. I’m curious to see how he thinks he can fix the deficit,” she added, noting it’s a huge problem that will need all the parties working together to solve.

Mayor Williams is confident, however, that electing Mr. Ford would be a step in the right direction for a province he believes is in desperate need of firm but fair leadership.

“The number one thing Doug will do for our residents in Orangeville, and for residents across the province, is listen. It sounds silly and simple, but Wynne’s whole thing is geared towards Toronto-centric policies. What’s best for Toronto is best for Queen’s Park and that doesn’t work for the rest of us,” Mayor Williams said.

He concluded, “Doug gets a bad rap, but I think once people to know him they’ll see he’s a reasonable guy with good ideas. He views things differently, but they’re not extreme, they just have a different focus. I truly believe he can do good things for our province and good things for our community. That’s why I’ll be supporting him in the upcoming election.”

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