Mul­roney ac­claimed as York-Sim­coe can­di­date

The Barrie Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - PATRICK BALES

GEORGINA - Caro­line Mul­roney wants to be part of a gov­ern­ment that helps peo­ple, not gets in their way.

The place for her to do that is in York-Sim­coe. The 43-year-old daugh­ter of for­mer prime min­is­ter Brian Mul­roney was ac­claimed as the On­tario PC Party’s can­di­date for the rid­ing at a nom­i­na­tion meet­ing Sun­day in Keswick.

An up­stairs lounge at the Georgina Ice Palace was packed with sup­port­ers from around the rid­ing, which in­cludes the towns of Brad­ford West Gwillim­bury, East Gwillim­bury and Georgina, as well as the Chippe­was of Georgina Is­land First Na­tion and por­tions of the Town­ship of King and Town of In­n­is­fil.

Mul­roney men­tioned as a mother of four, she had spent count­less hours in hockey are­nas as her young chil­dren have grown up.

But she likely hadn’t spent a great deal of time in the Keswick arena un­til re­cently.

The can­di­date’s res­i­dency has been an is­sue raised by op­po­nents of the pro­vin­cial Tories, with some see­ing her as no­table name be­ing parachuted into a his­tor­i­cally con­ser­va­tive rid­ing.

“I have a home in the rid­ing, in Georgina, not far from here,” she said dur­ing a me­dia avail­abil­ity fol­low­ing the nom­i­na­tion. “My hus­band works in the city; we have a place there.

“It’s not easy, but we do­ing a lot of driv­ing and a lot of sched­ul­ing... We make it work.”

Her fam­ily had been vis­it­ing the area for a num­ber of years, and had been look­ing for a place to pur­chase. That was found this spring, she said.

Mul­roney has found her­self in the rid­ing sig­nif­i­cantly more over the past month, since she an­nounced her in­ten­tion to run just be­fore the Au­gust long week­end. She said she chose the rid­ing be­cause of the con­nec­tion she has made with it over the years, as well as the re­la­tion­ship de­vel­oped with re­tir­ing MPP Ju­lia Munro. When Munro an­nounced she wouldn’t seek re­elec­tion, “it just made sense” to Mul­roney to sub­mit her name for con­sid­er­a­tion.

Rid­ing pres­i­dent Kai­ley Vokes said Mul­roney knows she has big shoes to fill in re­plac­ing Munro, but be­lieves it will be a smooth tran­si­tion between the two.

“Both Caro­line and Ju­lia share pas­sion for peo­ple and lis­ten­ing to peo­ple,” she said. “Just work­ing hard to get things done. I think there are so many sim­i­lar­i­ties we can draw between Ju­lia and Caro­line that it’s ac­tu­ally re­ally re­as­sur­ing for us that we have such an amaz­ing can­di­date.”

In her re­marks to sup­port­ers, Mul­roney crit­i­cized the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment for be­ing as un­pre­dictable as the weather, high­light­ing the re­cent an­nounce­ment to raise the min­i­mum wage in the prov­ince to $15, which was done with­out con­sul­ta­tion with or con­cern for small busi­nesses and en­trepreneurs, ac­cord­ing to the nom­i­nee.

“What we’re try­ing to do is make sure that peo­ple un­der­stand that we’re here to lis­ten to them,” Mul­roney said. “This gov­ern­ment – this Lib­eral gov­ern­ment – is not lis­ten­ing to them. They are im­ple­ment­ing poli­cies now for their own ben­e­fit, that are re­ally ben­e­fit­ing them for the next elec­tion. The re­sult is that they’re mak­ing it harder for peo­ple.”

“The poli­cies we’ve been run­ning on .... will make it more af­ford­able for fam­i­lies,” added Patrick Brown, leader of the op­po­si­tion and MPP for Sim­coe-North. “On any area, our fo­cus is how can we make sure that fam­i­lies don’t work harder, don’t have to pay more, to get less.”

Those poli­cies will be fi­nal­ized at the party’s pol­icy con­ven­tion in Novem­ber.

An item most vot­ers in the rid­ing – par­tic­u­larly in south Sim­coe County – con­sider a sig­nif­i­cant is­sue for the 2018 pro­vin­cial elec­tion is traf­fic con­ges­tion. Brown didn’t an­swer when asked di­rectly if he would see the long awaited Brad­ford By­pass con­structed if he forms gov­ern­ment next spring, but rather in­di­cated a greater amount of infrastructure spend­ing would come to his home county.

“I un­der­stand that there’s been a lot of com­plainants; that it ap­pears Sim­coe County hasn’t been at­tended to when it comes to infrastructure dol­lars,” Brown said. “I get that we’ve been ne­glected in Sim­coe County .... We’re go­ing to be help­ing with infrastructure needs ev­ery­where. I un­der­stand there’s a huge deficit here in Sim­coe County and it will be at­tended to.”

In 2014, Munro won the rid­ing by less than 3,000 votes, the nar­row­est mar­gin in the rid­ing ’s three elec­tion his­tory.

Mul­roney’s op­po­nents for the elec­tion have not been cho­sen by their re­spec­tive rid­ing as­so­ci­a­tions. Elec­tion day will be on or be­fore June 7.

PATRICK BALES/POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

Caro­line Mul­roney speaks to sup­port­ers at the On­tario Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive Party nom­i­na­tion meet­ing for the York-Sim­coe rid­ing on Sun­day in Keswick.

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