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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Nominees step forward for Ontario Progressive Conservative party

Lawyer Anthony Leardi

by Adam Gault

Two individuals who have had seats at different municipal decision-making tables in the regional political scene, are vying for the nomination to represent the Ontario Progressive Conservative party in the 2022 provincial election.

  Lawyer and former Deputy Mayor of the Town of Amherstburg, Anthony Leardi, and current Town of Essex Ward 3 Councillor, Chris Vander Doelen, are seeking to represent the Ontario PCs as the candidate for the Riding of Essex in the next Ontario election. The Essex Riding is currently represented by MPP Taras Natyshak (NDP) at Queen’s Park.

Councillor Chris Vander Doelen

First time municipal Councillor, and former Windsor Star columnist, Chris Vander Doelen, said he had been approached to run in past elections, but now with a few years as a Councillor under his belt, believed he was now ready to represent the people of Essex County at a higher level.

“I really enjoy it. I like helping people. I like dealing with people’s problems, representing them and offering informed comments during [Regular Council] meetings,” Vander Doelen explained of his time on Essex Council. “So, I decided when people asked me again, yes I would consider running provincially. So, we’ve been planning it for half-a-year now.”

As far as why Vander Doelen wishes to represent the Riding of Essex as a PC, he cites what he calls a fundamental mismanagement at all levels by both the Liberals and New Democrats, as well as their ideologies running contrary to his own beliefs.

“My parents were both card-carrying Liberals, but they wouldn’t be voting Liberal today because of the mess they create wherever they’re in power,” Vander Doelen said. “Same with the NDP, the NDP just seem to be anti-jobs, anti-development, anti-people, anti-freedom. So, I’m running for the only party I would consider running for. The only party that I think does any good for average working Canadians who pay taxes.”

Also seeking the nomination is current Harrow-based lawyer and former Amherstburg Council member, Anthony Leardi, who, in his view, is seeking the nomination to put and end to what he calls ten years of poor provincial representation in Essex County.

“We need a qualified, professional individual at Queen’s Park to speak for the taxpayers of this county to make sure our voice is heard,” Leardi commented. “We don’t seem to have a representative who can articulate smart policies that actually help Essex County. And number two, the current representative seems to only be able to articulate in actual vulgarities in the legislature.”

Leardi was formerly the President of the Essex Liberal Riding Association, but switched to the Progressive Conservatives after deciding the direction of the PCs was more aligned with how he believed government should make use of taxpayers’ money, and what he feels is a shift to the left by the Province’s other main parties.

“The Progressive Conservative party has demonstrated that they are far better at using taxpayers’ money than any of the other parties,” Leardi said. “In fact, I would say that the Progressive Conservative party is the only centre party left in Ontario. All the other parties have become radical leftists.”

Both individuals also believe, that under PC leadership, the region has the best opportunity to develop critical infrastructure projects and return jobs and industry to the region.

“The Conservatives want this hospital built, Premier Ford wants this hospital built,” Vander Doelen said of Ford’s recent promise to get the final go-ahead on the regional mega-hospital, a project that has been mired in various stages of bureaucratic development for years. “I want to see this hospital built. After Highway 3, that’s the most crucial thing for the region.”

Leardi added he believes PC policies would be most adept at attracting skilled tradespeople back to Essex County, while echoing the sentiment of the importance of constructing the mega hospital in ensuring quality healthcare for the people of the region.

“I was really pleased to hear Premier Ford make yet another commitment to the eventual construction of the regional mega hospital,” Leardi explained. “I think for today and the future, [it] is what we need to do to cement quality healthcare for people in Essex County.”

  Currently, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives hold a majority government in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, meaning an election is unlikely to be called before June, 2022.

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