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Pierre Lemieux charges into Tory leadership campaign

Pierre Lemieux peu de temps avant de prendre lemicro pendant le débat sur le leadership conservateur du 6 décembre àMoncton, au Nouveau-Brunswick. M. Lemieux a passé neuf ans au Parlement en tant que député conservateur de Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, pendant le mandat du gouvernement Harper. En plus de ses fonctions de député, M. Lemieux a aussi occupé diverses autres fonctions. —photo fournie


keys to “re-energizing the Conservatives” and leading the party back to power in Parliament. Lemieux is now an official part of the Conservative leadership campaign as of the end of November last year when he collected 300 signatures from party members, spread across seven provinces and 30 ridings to support his candidacy and amassed the $50,000 nomination fee required of all candidates with a further $50,000 compliance fee due later. He also filled out all 25 pages of the nomination application form. “A lot of background questions,” he said, with a chuckle. Lemieux had expressed interest in the party leadership position soon after Harper announced plans to step down. But his candidate qualification approval did not come through in time for him to take part in the first of a series of five debates that all contenders are required to participate in as part of the campaign process. Lemieux did get to be part of the Moncton debate session in early December and expressed satisfactionwith his performance during the bilingual give-and-take on questions about issues like job creation, health care, and the current arguments about a proposed new trans-national oil pipeline. He looks forward now to the third debate, scheduled for Jan. 17 in Québec City. That one is slated as an all-French debate, and he knows that some of his fellow candidates are scrambling to try and improve their second- language skills. “I will have no problem,” he said. During the Moncton debate, Lemieux noted, one of the questions from the floor

concerned how the next Conservative leader planned to unify the party behind himor her. He liked that particular question because it dovetailed with the “democracy” pillar of his campaign. “Canada has a strong and healthy democratic tradition,” he said. “Canadians should be able to debate anything in a healthy and constructive and respectful way. My response was: What I want to do is to welcome into the party people with all points of view, because people want to be heard.” Lemieux’s position of inclusiveness for the party sets him apart from Kellie Leitch, a fellow candidate who has garnered some negative attention for one of her campaign platform planks. Leitch wants future immigrants to Canada screened for “Canadian values”. Other candidates during the past two debates and media interviews have questioned what Leitch means by “Canadian values” and Lemieux himself disagrees with her proposal for a new immigrant screening test, arguing what is needed is moremoney to hiremore immigration service staff to speed up the vetting process. One thing Lemieux plans to do during the campaign is continue defending the supply management system, which has come under fire from a couple others. The former GPR MP said supply management works for Canadian farmers and must remain in place. He expressed concern that farmers may be due for hard times under the Trudeau Liberals with the new regulations for carbon tax and CPP deductions adding to the business operating cost for small- and medium-sized farms. “Four years under the Liberals will just

Le Choeur du moulin Le Choeur du Moulin reprend ses activités le mercredi 11 janvier 2017 à 19h à la Salle de musique de l’École secondaire catholique L’Escale de Rockland. Renseignements : Nicole 613 677-1033. Toute personne souhaitant se se joindre au groupe est bienvenue. “Most Canadians who go to the websites for information, may not even know who these people (endorsements) are,” he said. “The ultimate endorsement comes from the members when they vote.” mean less profit for farmers,” Lemieux said, adding he foresaw few business tax reductions that might apply to agriculture. In between the debates now, Lemieux spends his time travelling around for meetings with party members to introduce himself and continue building support for the leadership review meeting later this year. His main focus is on Ontario and Québec, which have the largest number of riding groups, and which political pundits see as the key power bases for a successful leadership bid. But he is also trying to spend some time in the Maritimes and the nearer Western provinces. What he does not plan to worry about is getting support endorsements from senior or key members of the Conservative party, past and present. While several of the candidates have gathered together sizeable endorsement portfolios for their campaign, Lemieux feels the influence of endorsements during the actual leadership review vote on May 27 is over-rated.

It’s been more than a year since Pierre Lemieux left Parliament Hill after the Liberal landslide victory of Justin Trudeau swept him andmany other Conservatives and a few NDP MPs out of office. Stephen Harper has retired to the backbenches now also, leaving the Tories in search of a new leader and Lemieux is one of many candidates now vying for that job. “What I can offer in my leadership is service,” Lemieux said, during a recent phone interview, about his reasons for seeking to become the next leader of the federal Conservative party. Lemieux spent nine years onThe Hill as the ConservativeMP for Glengarry-Prescott- Russell, during the Harper government’s term in office. Besides his MP duties, Lemieux also held parliamentary secretary posts for Official Languages, Agriculture, and Veterans’ Affairs, and also was at time the deputy government whip for the Conservative government, which involved such duties as ensuring enough Conservative MPs were sitting during critical votes. He chuckles when asked why, after nine years dealing with all the political squabbling on The Hill, he would want to go back in the arena and become leader of one of Canada’s three main political parties. He expressed doubt that the second-coming of Trudeaumania would survive a re-election battle. “I have the conviction we can beat the Liberals in 2019,” Lemieux said, adding that he feels his leadership campaign pillars of “democracy, family, and security” are the

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