Conservative hopefuls gather in Halifax
HALIFAX -- Conservative hopefuls looking to lead the country spent Sunday morning in Halifax drumming up support among provincial party supporters at the Westin hotel. With dozens in attendance, candidates pitched their platforms at the provincial party's annual general meeting.
"I'll start by addressing the elephant in the room, or maybe since I'm in Atlantic Canada, I'll call it the blue whale,” joked Conservative leadership candidate, Rudy Husny, to the crowd. “Who am I? Who's that Rudy on that?"
The five contenders shared their visions with delegates from Yarmouth to Cape Breton.
"I have my Peter MacKay button," said one PC party member.
However, many in attendance, including MLA’s and MP, Chris d'Entremont, were noticeably showing support for hometown favourite, Peter MacKay.
"There's an old Nova Scotia expression, and that is: there are no strangers–just friends we haven't met yet; and we welcome people not only from around the country but around the world,” said MacKay to the crowd of supporters. “We have a lot to be proud of in our province. I've drawn inspiration from that same sense of pride at home, and values and purpose that we've always brought to the federation."
Technically, MacKay and Ontario MP, Erin O'Toole, are the only candidates officially in the running. With the deadline to enter the race less than three weeks away, it was easy to see the would-be candidates in Halifax today were looking to connect with Maritime constituents and get more signatures for the nomination.
"Peter will have my number-two spot, on my ballot,” said Conservative leadership candidate Rick Peterson. “And I hope you will all join me at putting Peter at the number-two spot on your ballot."
"I have relatives all over Atlantic–in fact in Halifax, Kentville, Digby, Weymouth, Truro,” said Conservative leadership candidate Marilyn Gladu. “They're everywhere."
The contenders discussed an array of topics including climate change, reconciliation, healthcare, diversity, the military and the economy - especially issues that resonate locally.
"After the closure of Northern Pulp, families from across the province are wondering how they will pay their bills and how they will make ends meet,” said O’Toole. “They're also wondering why Liberal MP’s, like Sean Fraser, voted against my bill to help protect pensioners when their employer goes out of business."
As the countdown to a vote in June continues, prospective candidates will continue to rally support nationwide, with all eyes on the leadership convention and who will replace Andrew Scheer and possibly become the next Prime Minister of Canada.
Meanwhile, for remaining candidate hopefuls to be approved applicants, they must provide $25,000, 1,000 signatures and other various information to the party by February 27.