ON Election 2022



  - by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

Why did Doug Ford not trust the solid, conservative membership of the Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound (BGOS) PC riding association to pick their own candidate for this riding? These people had chosen Bill Murdoch and Bill Walker, after all.

Perhaps that was exactly why.

Mr. Murdoch did a very effective job of undermining the credibility of then-PC leader John Tory during and following the 2007 election campaign, ultimately telling CFOS radio that Tory should “find another job”. He was subsequently suspended from the PC caucus.

In the same election Mr. Byers, a good friend of John Tory, ran unsuccessfully for him in Oakville. He had previously run in the same riding for Joe Clark's Progressive Conservatives and Stephen Harper's Conservative Party, but never gained the seat.

Bill Walker supported Christine Elliott, Doug Ford's leading opponent for the PC leadership. Elliott ultimately conceded the tight race to Ford, after originally claiming “serious irregularities” in the voting process. She was made Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, but although she was nominated in 2020, she will not be running in this election,. Her departure and the appointment of her constituency office manager as the replacement candidate were announced to the riding association in the same Zoom call from the PC Party. The riding association president resigned in protest of the process.

Most of Mr. Walker's work as our representative at Queen's Park was in opposition, as Critic for Social and Community Services, Seniors and Accessibility, and Long Term Care. None of these responsibilities were given to him in government. Walker has held six positions in Ford's government in its four years including six months as Chief government whip, whose job it is to maintain party discipline.

Mr. Walker too was nominated for this June's election in 2020. When he announced back in February that he would not be seeking re-election, the PC Party announced to the members that there would be no input from them – Mr. Byers had already been selected from a short list of names Mr. Walker had supplied.

Some local riding association members – essentially the same people who had turned Mr. Byers down on the first ballot as their nominee to be their federal candidate - responded swiftly. Although many are clearly doing what is expected in this campaign and pounding in blue signs, not one has yet to send us a letter of support for “their” candidate.

Think of how many elected members of town councils in our 17 Grey-Bruce municipalities might have considered throwing their hat into this nomination contest if it had been held? At least six in Owen Sound alone are card-carrying (Progressive) Conservatives, all with electoral success and four or more years of governance to their credit.

In 32 years of representation by MPPs Murdoch and Walker, Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound has never been represented by a senior Minister of the provincial cabinet.

Will that change with a candidate hand-picked by the Premier?

In 2018, Ford appointed 11 candidates and re-opened two nomination races. Four of those 13 won their seats, including Mike Harris Jr., son of the former Premier. Only one of those - Doug Downey (Barrie Springwater)-  joined the cabinet, as Attorney General in 2019.

We have four more days to consider who will best represent us at Queen's Park. If it is another majority, they will have four years to convince us we made the right choice.





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