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Guelph Tories look to move forward in wake of Doug Ford's election as party leader

Local riding association says it has over 800 registered members and expects more before local nomination meeting
2018-03-01 Doug Ford CP
Doug Ford. Canadian Press file photo.

The Guelph Progressive Conservative Riding Association is looking at moving forward with a united front toward the provincial election in June.

In the wake of a hectic and occasionally contentious weekend for the party that saw Doug Ford emerge as its new provincial leader, local riding president Bob Coole said he’s pleased the party can put the contentious part behind them.

“I’m very pleased that we are going to be moving forward together,” said Coole, would not say which leadership candidate he supported on the weekend, only that he will fully support Ford.

“I have to work with him. My main concern is doing the best that I can do for the local riding. That’s my main concern: that we get what we need in Guelph.

“I’m not disappointed Doug won. I’m a party guy. It sounds old fashioned, but I am. We all work together to make it better for the people of Guelph.”

Coole said he sent an email to all four leadership candidates stressing the need for a united front and that they should stop attacking one another.

“I don’t believe in all that crap. Tell me how we can help the people, not how you can run down the guy next to you,” Coole said.

“Become unified. Ten armies of one are not as good as one army of 10. The leader is only one person, he needs people to support him.”

The local riding has yet to nominate a candidate to run in the June election. Coole said the local nomination meeting date will be determined by the provincial nominating committee, but he expects it to be in early April.

Guelph is one of roughly 20 ridings that still have not declared a candidate.

Two people are confirmed to be running for the local nomination: veterinarian Pat Meyers and real estate consultant Ray Ferraro.

Coole said there had been a third man interested in running but he no longer expects that to be the case.

The riding association president said there are currently just over 800 members signed up locally and he expects more to sign up prior to the cut off for local registration.

Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott issued the following statement on Ford's victory as party leader:

"Our Party's members have voted, and Doug Ford has been elected Leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. I accept the result, and I am prepared to work with him, along with all of my colleagues in the Ontario Legislature.

I agree with Doug Ford that Ontario needs to be "open for business.” I agree that wasteful government spending needs to stop. I agree that elected representatives need to be accountable to the people they serve.

Christine Elliott has indicated she will run for a seat in the coming provincial election. I welcome that news.

As always, my priorities are the needs and concerns of the people of our riding of Wellington-Halton Hills.

However, Ontario needs a change of Government. The mismanagement, dishonesty and scandals of the Liberals must be brought to an end. Our party needs to unite behind our leadership and offer the people of Ontario the Government they deserve."