By Jeff Morris
[dropcap]C[/dropcap]Carleton Progressive Conservative candidate Goldie Ghamari has endorsed Christine Elliott for the upcoming leadership race for the party.
Ghamari made the announcement during Elliott’s visit to the riding Wednesday, before the PC leadership debate last Wednesday in Ottawa. She said that Elliott is the PC leadership candidate who can best bring the party together.
“Her focus has always been on defeating Kathleen Wynne,” Ghamari said. “She is the leadership candidate best suited to help us win and form the provincial government in June.”
Ghamari invited all four of the PC leadership candidates to Carleton. Elliott was the only one who accepted the invite and visited the riding.
“She is promoting a message of unity,” Ghamari added.
Elliott was happy to accept the endorsement.
“I am very pleased to have Goldie’s support,” Elliott told the Messenger. “She will do a wonderful job as an MPP. She has a strong background as a lawyer, and she has been a good volunteer for the party.”
Elliott added that Ghamari, as a young professional woman, will bring some youth to the party and ensure its strong future.
“She brings a lot to the table,” said Elliott. “I will enjoy working with her.”
Elliott is plugged into rural Eastern Ontario, and is aware of the issues. She has worked closely with Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod and actually joined the Tory caucus on the say day that MacLeod did. Both won by-elections to win their seats. She has also worked alongside Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark.
“The Wynne Liberals have an urban focus that centres around Toronto,” Elliott said. “They have been ignoring the needs of Eastern Ontario’s rural and suburban communities.”
As Elliott prepares for this weekend’s Progressive Conservative Leadership Convention, her message is consistent with what it was when she ran for the party’s leadership when Patrick Brown won the leadership. She summed it up with one sentence.
“Life is becoming more unaffordable in Ontario,” Elliott said.
Skyrocketing hydro rates and scandals that have carried high price tags have been an ongoing issue with the Wynne Liberals. They are affecting residents throughout the province, and they are hurting businesses.
“The minimum wage increase hurt a lot of small businesses,” Elliott said. “It hurt in the fast food industry, where a lot of young people work for minimum wage, and it has hurt the grocery industry.”
As a result of the increase, Elliott said that many small businesses have had to reduce the number of employees or cut back on their hours in order to survive.
“In the long run, this minimum wage increase is hurting the people it was intending to help,” she said.
Elliott said that she would not raise minimum wage as is planned next year.
“The problem was that it was done too quickly, and too suddenly,” she said. “It presented a huge problem to small businesses because of the drastic increase. I would like to take the next increase and implement it over four years, not one. That will lessen the immediate burden on businesses.”
Elliott took part in the leadership debate in Ottawa Wednesday night. Although the situation with former leader Patrick Brown put the party behind the eight ball with regard to timing, Elliott remains positive that the Progressive Conservatives will finally be able to topple the Liberal Government.
“Sure, we are close to an election, but I have never seen so many people interested in our party’s leadership race and with what we are doing,” Elliott said. “People are engaged right now and they see the positive things we are doing as a party.”
The new leader of the Progressive Conservative leadership race will be announced at the party’s convention in Markham Sat., March 10.