Dave Smith believes it’s the beginning of the end of Liberal banner flying in the riding of Peterborough-Kawartha.
Smith, 47, is the Progressive Conservatives’ new candidate for the riding after winning a nomination vote on Thursday night in Peterborough. He topped candidates Ryan Moore and Derek Andreoli.
The riding has been held by Liberal MPP Jeff Leal since 1999. In his victory speech at the Evinrude Centre, Smith said it’s time for a change.
“What I said last night was I think we’re witnessing the end of Jeff Leal representing us,” Smith said Friday morning.
“I truly believe come June when the election happens, we’ll see the Progressive Conservatives win here.”
Smith is known for his volunteer efforts in the city, including the organizer of the annual Under the Lift Lock outdoor minor hockey tournament and chaired an international hockey tournament for players with special needs last spring.
The father of three, who is a manager of product development for Cardinal Software in the city’s downtown, says the economy will be a major focus.
“Locally we’ve had a number of issues when it comes to the economy — jobs, the cost of electricity has gotten completely out of hand,” he said. “We have to get a handle on that. We need to put the environment back in place for businesses to succeed and that way jobs come back to Peterborough.”
Smith referenced GE Peterborough’s decision last month that its facility would be closing next year, tossing 350 people out of work.
“It’s ridiculous we just lost 350 jobs at General Electric,” said Smith. “I’m not sure why our local MPP hasn’t stood up and done things so that GE can succeed here and jobs can come to Peterborough instead of leaving.”
Leal repeatedly has stated he has yet to decide whether he will attempt to seek re-election, saying he’s focusing on current work.
In a statement, Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown congratulated Smith on his nomination win. Brown praised Smith for his longtime volunteering and dedication to Peterborough.
“Dave loves Peterborough, and I know he will be a tireless fighter to make life more affordable for Peterborough-Kawartha families,” Brown stated.
“After 14 years in power, life is harder with the Liberals. Ontario families are working harder, paying more, and getting less. It’s time for a change. Only the Ontario PC Party will put hardworking families first, and make sure they pay less and get ahead.”
Smith said he chose to run to continue his efforts to make a difference in the community.
“If I sit on my couch and just complain, what am I saying to my kids?” Smith asked. “I’ve got the ability to make a difference. I need to stand up and do that and let our community know that they do have a champion. They do have someone that’s going to make a difference.”