ABOVE: The race to replace Tim Hudak as leader of the Ontario PC party is on – even as Andrea Horwath is blaming “fear” and “strategic voting” for her party’s election night showing. Alan Carter explains.
TORONTO – The widow of former federal finance minister Jim Flaherty announced her plans to run for the leadership of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives on Wednesday, saying she would move the party forward in a new direction.
Christine Elliott is looking to succeed Tim Hudak, who is stepping down following the crushing defeat of his party in the June 12 provincial election.
“We have a huge amount of work to do,” Elliott said as she announced her leadership bid in Toronto.
“We need to go back and rebuild our party from the ground up. And it starts by listening to all of our members and by listening to all Ontarians. We simply need to take our party in a new way forward.”
While calling her overarching vision a simple one, Elliott noted that it wouldn’t be easy to execute.
“It’s going to take experienced leadership,” she said. “I believe, in fact, I know, that I am ready to provide that experienced leadership.”
Elliott entered politics when she won a seat in Whitby, east of Toronto, in a March 2006 byelection.
She finished third when Hudak won the Tory leadership race in 2009, and is currently the party’s deputy leader.
The mother of three said her experience as a lawyer, entrepreneur and a parent taught her to listen to others.
“As leader, I’ll re-engage with our grassroots supporters and those that share our Progressive Conservative values by asking these questions – what is your vision for a prosperous Ontario and what can we do together to get us there,” she said.
Other names that have been floated as potential leadership contenders are Tory labour critic Monte McNaughton, Tory energy critic Lisa MacLeod, Tory finance critic Vic Fedeli and party president Richard Ciano.
Hudak will step down when the legislature returns on July 2.