What makes Duncan run
BY STEVEN WARBURTON
Staff When former North Dundas mayor Eric Duncan announced he wasn’t going to run for reelection in last fall’s municipal election, many in the media thought it was because he wanted to devote his energy to running for a higher office.
And although the 31-year-old Winchester resident has officially announced he intends to run for the Conservative party in this year’s federal election, he insists that’s not the reason he decided to step down after 12 years of municipal politics.
“I had decided two years ago that I wasn’t going to run again,” says Mr. Duncan, adding that he wanted to devote some time to working at his family’s trucking company.
But when veteran StormontDundas-South Glengarry MP Guy Lauzon announced his retirement last month, the writing was on the wall for Mr. Duncan, who has long dreamed of being a Member of Parliament.
Neither the Liberals nor the New Democrats have fielded candidates yet.
Mr. Duncan says he’s attracted to the Conservatives because of that party’s attitude toward finances.
“The lower taxes are, the more efficient the economy is going to be,” he says. “I don’t believe the immediate solution to any problem should be to raise taxes.”
As such, he’s not too happy with the Liberals, who claim to balance the budget in the year 2040.
“That’s absurd,” he says. “Stephen Harper’s government only went into a deficit when it was needed, when there was a global recession. They went into that deficit with the three T’s. The deficit was timely, it was temporary, and it was targeted.”
He says that the Conservative party is the solution.
“It’s easier to fix a four-year problem than a 15-year problem,” he says, alluding to provincial Conservative party’s recent victory after 15 years of Liberal rule.
As far as the issues go, he says there are two big ones – eliminating the carbon tax and defending supply management.
He says that during the last provincial election, voters sent a pretty clear message that they didn’t want a carbon tax. Mr. Duncan says those same voters may not be pleased with the federal Liberals who plan to impose a similar tax in April.
“If that’s what the fight is going to be about, then challenge accepted,” he says. “In our riding, we have a lot of commuter families and they are going to be penalized for driving to work.”
He says the government would be better off looking at technology solutions for climate change. As an example, he points to his family’s trucking business and how it managed to improve fuel efficiency through vehicular modification.
As far as supply management goes, he says it has to be protected because it protects farmers. He says this is especially important because some of Canada’s trade partners would like to see it gone.
Mr. Duncan knows it will be a challenge living up to Mr. Lauzon’s legacy, who made it a priority to be seen at various events throughout the riding. He says he makes at least 100 phone calls a day and will campaign as if he is 100 votes behind.
Mr. Duncan had worked for the veteran MP as his executive assistant and chief of staff for nine years, before leaving to work for his family’s business.
The riding has been considered one of the safest Tory seats in Canada, although support for Mr. Lauzon slipped in the last election in 2015.
While his vote total dipped by 11 per cent from his 2011 total, Mr. Lauzon still garnered 51 per cent of the popular vote, amassing 27,091 ballots, compared to Liberal hopeful Bernadette Clement’s 20,452, New Democrat Patrick Burger’s 4,332 and Green candidate Elaine Kennedy’s 1,191.