Now that Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement has announced that he will not be running in the upcoming federal election, the local Conservative riding association will need to find a new candidate.
Parry-Sound Muskoka Conservative Riding Association president, Stephen Darling, said the logistics of filling the position is new to him. “I’m not used to not having a sitting member,” he noted. Darling also said that he has had a number of people express interest in the position.
“I didn’t push anybody for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer because we weren’t in the position of knowing if or when there was going to be an election [for a candidate to represent the Conservatives here]. So I believe that there are a number of people that are at least interested in it, but now is when the rubber hits the road,” said Darling, adding that he spoke to Clement the night before he officially announced that he would not be running in the October 2019 federal election.
“I had a chance to talk to Tony last night. He brought me up to speed with what was happening,” said Darling. “I’m happy because Tony’s happy. I think he’s generally pleased with this bookend on his career… he’s going to finish out his term, which I am very happy about. I’d hate to see a by-election called for any reason, really. I’ve enjoyed working with Tony and I think he’s done a great job for not just Parry Sound-Muskoka but for Ontario when he was MPP and for Canada when he was an MP.”
Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison is expected to file his nomination papers. Last month, Aitchison confirmed he’d be running if Clement stepped down.
“I know Scott and I’ve known him for many years, so I know him to be dedicated to the Town of Huntsville. I’m not surprised to hear that he’s interested in representing Parry Sound-Muskoka and I think he would do a great job, but I’m impartial to anybody that wants to put their name forward right now as a nominee and depending on who becomes the candidate, I hope to work with anyone that reaches that level,” said Darling.
The nomination for the Parry Sound-Muskoka Conservative Association has not been officially announced, according to Director of Communications for the Conservative Party of Canada, Cory Hann. He said riding members will be notified when the nomination opens and those interested would have two weeks to file their papers.
“If more than one person comes forward and ends up having their candidacy confirmed, then we would hold a nomination vote and that nomination vote typically happens between 42 and 54 days from the notification date,” said Hann.
If more than one person runs for the nomination, card-carrying members of the Conservative Party of Canada will be given an opportunity to vote for their candidate.
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