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Central Ontario PC candidates throw support behind Christine Elliott

Click to play video 'Christine Elliott makes campaign stop in Peterborough' Christine Elliott makes campaign stop in Peterborough
Christine Elliott makes a campaign stop in Peterborough as part of her bid to be the next leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives.

Christine Elliott has the support of Progressive Conservative candidates in Central Ontario as she bids to become the party’s provincial next leader.

Elliott’s campaigning on Tuesday included stops in Peterborough and Cobourg, where she was welcomed by dozens of party supporters.

READ MORE: Ontario PC Party leadership candidates face off in final televised debate

Among them were Dave Smith, the PC candidate for Peterborough-Kawartha, who announced on the weekend that he is endorsing the former Whitby-Oshawa MPP to lead the party and become premier.

“The person who is going to bring Ontario back to prominence,” Smith said as he introduced Elliott to a crowd at the Peterborough Naval Association.

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Current Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Laurie Scott echoed a similar sentiment earlier in the day. She said Elliott has the reach and experience to unify and lead the party to defeat the Liberal government and Premier Kathleen Wynne in the June provincial election.

READ MORE: Doug Ford, Christine Elliott neck and neck in Ontario PC leadership race: poll

“Being united matters more than ever; we need to be ready now,” Scott said.

In Cobourg, Northumberland-Peterborough South candidate David Piccini described Elliott as a “remarkable woman of great integrity” and experience.

“Proved tonight why she will be Wynne’s worst nightmare,” he shared in a Tweet.

Elliott told Peterborough supporters she wants to see changes to the carbon tax and current sex-education curriculum and will take action to reduce wait times for health care.

She also touted her political experience, which she says makes her the most qualified to lead the party. She served nine years as MPP, followed by an appointment as the province’s patient ombudsman. This is her third attempt at the party leadership, after finishing third in 2009 to Tim Hudak and as runner-up to Patrick Brown in 2015.

READ MORE: Ont. Tories ready to ‘move on’ after Brown gives up leadership bid: interim leader

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“Experience in both the public sector and private sector, having been an MPP for nine years; working in healthcare, as well, I have that knowledge,” she said. “The polling is showing very well that I’m the candidate that can actually beat Kathleen Wynne.”

Other candidates seeking the leadership include Caroline Mulroney,  Tonya Granic Allen and Doug Ford, who visited Peterborough last week.

Voting for a new party leader begins March 2, with the winner to be announced March 10. Ontario voters go to the polls on June 7.