Caroline Mulroney’s campaign to earn the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario began in earnest last week, which included a Friday night stop at the Greater Napanee Fire Services Station.
Some 50 supporters braved the snowy conditions to pack the fire hall and hear Mulroney’s pitch as to why she feels she could lead the PC Party to victory over Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals in the upcoming June 7 Ontario general election.
She’s already secured the support of Daryl Kramp, who will serve as the PC candidate in the Hastings-Lennox Addington riding for the general election.
“Ontarians can’t afford to live in the province that they love any more,” said Mulroney. “Government is getting in their way, making life harder for families and small business owners and for people across this province. Daryl and I are in the same boat, wanting to work together to get Ontario back on track.”
Mulroney announced her candidacy following Patrick Brown’s sudden resignation on Jan. 25 following accusations of sexual harassment against the former leader. She’s joined by Doug Ford and Christine Elliot as the candidates to replace replace Brown.
“I put my name forward because we have a provincial election coming up in a short time and the party has to decide one simple choice: Who do they think could beat Kathleen Wynne and win the election for the PC Party?” said Mulroney. “I put my name forward because I believe I am that person. I have spent all of my professional life in the private sector. I am a lawyer. I’ve been in business the last few years and I started a charity that I’m very proud of called the Shoebox Project. It delivers gifts to women in shelters and I’ve been running it with my sister-in-laws for years. I’ve been doing that while raising a family. My husband and I have four children. I think that is exactly the kind of experience people want to see at Queen’s Park.”
The daughter of former prime minister Brian Mulroney acknowledged her lack of political experience, having joined the party in August 2017.
“I come to this with no baggage.” she said. “Just the desire to work hard. I know that I can lead the party. We need somebody completely new. Fifteen years of Liberal government — of fiscal mismanagement, of waste, of scandal and unaffordability — has to end.”
Kramp, who held office from 2004 through 2015, echoed her sentiments.
“We have large companies here such as Goodyear, Strathcona that depend on a solid, consistent supply of affordable energy,” said Kramp. “We need to keep them here. We can’t be suggesting they’re not welcome because we’re pricing them out. We have small business people that have a great deal of difficulty trying to survive under the onerous cost of everything from uncontrolled bureaucracy to red tape to unaffordable staff.”
Mulroney says her platform will be built around affordability.
“I’ll start by looking at hydro,” she said. “As Daryl was saying, we’ve got to focus on lowering hydro rates.”
Candidates will have just over a month to convince supporters they’ve the right person for the job. The party will vote on its new leader on March 10, following a March 2-8 online voting period for its members.