He is intelligent,dynamic, and is a viable worthy alternative to be considered Pr
Hudak pledges to energize party for election victory
Posted By MICHAEL-ALLAN MARION, EXPOSITOR STAFF
Ontario Conservative leadership candidate Tim Hudak says he wants to energize the party to defeat Dalton McGuinty's government in the 2011 election.
Judging by the reaction of local party faithful at Moose Winooski's on Thursday, the candidate lived up to that promise.
To some, Hudak seemed like a younger, more brightly polished version of former Ontario Tory premier Mike Harris, extolling the virtues of hard work, playing by the rules, rewarding initiative, and building strong families.
"It seems he's got what it takes," said Terry Shelhas, a millwright recently laid off from a Cambridge company. "I just met the man today and I like what I see so far."
Hudak, the Niagara West- Glanbrook MPP, is facing three other contenders for the party's leadership: Whitby-Ajax MPP Christine Elliott, Newmarket- Aurora MPP Frank Klees and Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington MPP Randy Hillier.
"We need to get the economy rolling again," said Shelhas, who used the occasion to hand out business cards advertising all his skills and qualifications as a tradesman.
"Since I'm looking for work, the economy is what's most important to me."
Liz Martin, a longtime party worker, said she likes Hudak because "he brings a certain energy" to a room.
She said she had a chance to watch his rapport with an audience at a party policy convention in Niagara Falls in February.
"There was a large contingent of youth there," she recounted. "They absolutely loved him. They had a certain confidence and optimism with him. I find that very encouraging."
Riding association president Mike Quattrociocchi said that Hudak, the first candidate to visit Brant, bodes well for the party's future.
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"He seems articulate, excited and ready to fight an election," he said. "But we have to listen to all four candidates, and it would be prudent for all of them to come. We need a good vision and a strong leader to rebuild our party."
Hudak's visit to Brant came one week after he launched his campaign.
On Thursday, he paid tribute to Dan McCreary, a city councillor who carried the standard for the Tories in Brant in the last provincial election, and four-term Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett, who travelled to Brantford in support.
"We are facing very difficult times," Hudak told the gathering. "Under Dalton McGuinty, Ontario is in decline. Whoever could have imagined that Ontario would be dead last in job creation? Whoever would have imagined that Ontario would become a have-not province under Dalton McGuinty?"
He said he believes the road to success in bad economic times is to speak plainly and develop policies that stick to core Conservative values: looking after families, lowering taxes, rewarding ingenuity, living within one's means.
He spoke of his Czechoslovakian grandparents, who lived by those values when they came to Canada.
"If we speak to that shared Conservative vision, we can defeat Dalton McGuinty and have enduring Conservative governments again."