Chris­tine for the win?

The On­tario PC lead­er­ship is heat­ing up, and the most ex­pe­ri­enced can­di­date is Chris­tine El­liot. With the party in dis­ar­ray and Wynne’s Lib­er­als mak­ing a come­back, Post City talked to El­liott about her lead­er­ship po­ten­tial by Ron John­son

Thornhill Post - - News -

If you win, there will be women lead­ing all three ma­jor pro­vin­cial par­ties into the next elec­tion. How im­por­tant is that to you?

It would cer­tainly be very dif­fer­ent for On­tario. And cer­tainly it would be the first woman leader of the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive Party of On­tario, and I look for­ward to step­ping into that role.

Is the party at risk of be­ing taken over by a more so­cially con­ser­va­tive mem­ber­ship akin to the United States?

No, I don’t think so. I think most of our mem­bers have the same views as I do, and we want to be like the Davis con­ser­va­tives and bal­ance the two per­spec­tives of fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity and so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity.

The On­tario Lib­er­als are lean­ing fur­ther left with in­creases to the min­i­mum wage and a uni­ver­sal ba­sic in­come project. What do you think?

The ba­sic wage is a pi­lot project that [for­mer sen­a­tor] Mr. [Hugh] Se­gal brought for­ward, and I’m quite in­ter­ested in it, but it’s too early to say. In terms of the min­i­mum wage, ev­ery­one wants to see the min­i­mum wage be­ing in­creased, but the prob­lem is that it in­creased quite dra­mat­i­cally, and busi­ness own­ers are finding it very dif­fi­cult to cope with. The re­sult is that some have had to lay peo­ple off or re­duce their work hours, and that is not a de­sir­able re­sult at all.

In 2015, Pa­trick Brown called you “Lib­eral light,” what is a pro­gres­sive con­ser­va­tive to you?

I see my­self as a true pro­gres­sive con­ser­va­tive in the sense that we need to be fis­cally re­spon­si­ble and not spend money that we don’t have, which is why we got into the fi­nan­cial mess we are in with $310 bil­lion worth of debt, but it also means help­ing peo­ple who re­ally need our help. It’s al­ways been im­por­tant to me to be an ad­vo­cate for vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple. And that to me is what a pro­gres­sive con­ser­va­tive is.

Kath­leen Wynne would like to see the On­tario Green­belt ex­panded and strength­ened. Where do you stand?

I think that we need to get more hous­ing stock avail­able, so that young peo­ple in par­tic­u­lar are able to buy homes, and I’m not sure ex­pand­ing the Green­belt is go­ing to help that. In my view, if every­body is meant to en­joy the Green­belt, then peo­ple need to be com­pen­sated for the diminu­tion of value to their land. I have acted, in my law prac­tice, for farmers whose land has been caught in the Green­belt, who have seen the value of their land go down to about the value of their mort­gage. In my view, that’s ex­pro­pri­a­tion with­out com­pen­sa­tion.

With Pa­trick Brown back in the race along­side Doug Ford, the cam­paign could turn neg­a­tive. How can this be pre­vented?

Well, I think it is re­ally im­por­tant to be pos­i­tive in this cam­paign. It’s about peo­ple’s dif­fer­ent ideas for lead­er­ship, and it is no time for per­sonal shots to be taken against any­one. So for my part, I in­tend to treat all the other can­di­dates with re­spect while point­ing out the dif­fer­ences in our opin­ions.

Caro­line Mul­roney has never even won an elec­tion and seems to be run­ning on her name and good in­ten­tions. What do you think she brings to the con­test?

I think Caro­line is an in­tel­li­gent per­son and has great po­ten­tial in the party, but right now we need some­one with ex­pe­ri­ence that can step right into the role.

Who is your po­lit­i­cal hero?

I re­ally ad­mire Bill Davis. I so ad­mire his style and his abil­ity to be re­spect­ful to ev­ery­one while still get­ting the work done that he needed to do. He has given me ad­vice and guid­ance on sev­eral is­sues over the years.

Tell me some­thing peo­ple might not know about you?

Hmm. I think ev­ery­one knows I have triplets, so that’s not a sur­prise. I guess maybe that I like to run, and I’ve done a cou­ple of half marathons, and that’s some­thing I do in my spare time.

What tal­ent would you most like to have?

To be very mu­si­cal.

You don’t play an in­stru­ment?

Not re­ally. I played the French horn very badly in high school.

What mu­sic do you lis­ten to when you run?

A lot of clas­si­cal mu­sic. Ac­tu­ally, I’m a big clas­si­cal mu­sic fan. I was on the board of the Toronto Sym­phony years ago.

Who would win a race be­tween you and Kath­leen Wynne?

I would.

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