Waterloo Region Record

Olympic gold medallist Sylvie Frechette to run as Conservati­ve in Quebec


OTTAWA — Olympic synchroniz­ed swimming gold medallist Sylvie Frechette says she is comfortabl­e with the social conservati­ve views of her new boss, Tory leader Andrew Scheer.

Frechette announced Monday she will be the Conservati­ve party candidate this October in the Riviere-du-Nord riding in the Laurentian­s region north of Montreal.

Regardless of what Scheer personally thinks about gay marriage and abortion, if he is elected he won’t change Canadian laws, she said in a phone interview.

“I think he has already stated he has a certain level of discomfort,” she said about Scheer’s view on same-sex marriage. “But, due to his personal discomfort, will he make a change for the entire country? Absolutely not.”

Last week when a video surfaced of Scheer speaking out against same-sex marriage in 2005, his director of communicat­ions said the Conservati­ve leader has no plans to change samesex marriage laws.

“Mr. Scheer supports same-sex marriage as defined in law and as prime minister will, of course, uphold it,’’ Brock Harrison tweeted Thursday.

Frechette said Scheer wants to unite people. “He knows the difference between his deep beliefs and the good of the country,” she said, adding that the same holds true on the issue of abortion.

Scheer personally opposes abortion, “but at the party level, abortion is legal in Canada and he doesn’t have the intention to go backwards,” she said.

Frechette won gold in the women’s solo synchroniz­ed swimming event at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and silver in the team event in Atlanta four years later. Since retiring from competitio­n, the 52-year-old has held various positions at the Cirque du Soleil and the Canadian Olympic Committee.

She said she accepted the offer to run for the party two weeks ago. The Olympian said she was pushed into politics after witnessing the current federal government make decisions she couldn’t identify with.

When pressed to name specific Liberal policies she rejected, Frechette was vague. She said Canada has lost respect internatio­nally and then brought up the SNC-Lavalin affair.

In a recent report, ethics commission­er Mario Dion concluded Trudeau broke the Conflict of Interest Act by improperly pressuring former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to halt a criminal prosecutio­n of SNCLavalin on corruption charges related to contracts in Libya.

“What happened with SNCLavalin, with everything that has happened ... It’s bull, all of it. We aren’t stupid.”

Frechette will face a challenge as she tries to unseat Bloc Québécois MP Rheal Fortin in a riding where the Conservati­ves finished fourth in 2015. The riding has voted Bloc or NDP since it was created in 2004 and has never elected a Conservati­ve.

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Sylvie Frechette

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