Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com
HUNTSVILLE — Scott Aitchison has never met Andrew Scheer.
But he wants to be on his team come Oct. 21.
Because Aitchison’s always wanted to be MP.
“I’ve always been a Conservative,” the Huntsville mayor said by phone Friday.
He knows the Conservative Party of Canada has veered further to the right.
Yet he still believes in the core values of Canadian Conservatism.
It’s Justin Trudeau, Trisha Cowie and the Liberals that he disagrees with.
He said he likes Cowie, “she’s a good person.” He and has nothing against her.
There are just “so many reasons” not to like what the Liberals and the prime minister are doing, he countered.
Trudeau, his Parry Sound-Muskoka candidate and their party are about cities, says the leader of the riding’s largest municipality.
Aitchison complains the Liberals have “borrowed billions and not given it back to rural Canada.
“The feds think we all live in cities.”
He said “I’m known, I can represent them and speak out loud and clear” as their rural representative.
But not “hooting and hollering” like they do in Parliament. “It’s ridiculous.”
Aitchison says if he gets the Tory nod locally, he will take a leave as mayor “when the writ is dropped,” which he expects after Labour Day.
In the meantime, he’s seeking the nod from Conservatives in a crowded field.
Holly Thompson, an energetic early contender and party worker with solid local connections within the party locally and beyond, was first out of the gate.
Meaghan Shannon, was next up, and Bracebridge lawyer Alan Fraser is also in contention.
Thursday, May 30, was the deadline to apply.
Cory Hann, communications director with the national CPC party that is running the nomination here, said Friday that the nomination process opened May 16, so the nomination date will be at some point between 42 and 54 days after that, so roughly the end of June or first of July.
Aitchison says he has filed.
And this week he’s on the campaign trail with a couple of house sit-downs this weekend.
Monday he’s in Burk’s Falls at a public gather, Tuesday he’s in Bracebridge at the Muskoka Brewery for the same. Thursday he’s at Sawdust City Brewery in Gravenhurst and Friday, the last day to sign up members to vote, he’s in Parry Sound.
Aitchison’s profile alone will allow him to come from behind, as will his efforts to retain a dual-model hospital system in Muskoka.
Aitchison, 46, who got into politics as a Huntsville councillor at age 21, says he “always wanted to run federally.”
He said the “timing was right.”
“If I don’t do it now, I may never get a chance.”
Besides, he says, “whoever wins will be MP for a long time.”
Aitchison wants more done on the housing front in Parry Sound and Muskoka.
He said they aren’t doing their part with the district, towns and province.
And while he’s “never met the man,” he thinks Scheer will build a better Canada.
“I’m eager to work with him.”
“I agree with all the things they’re (CPC) are doing.”
He believes in the party system and says “almost nobody gets elected as an Independent.
“You can’t get elected without a party’s support.”
Independent MP Tony Clement has said he will not be running for re-election after Scheer threw him out of the party in the wake of sexting scandal for the 13-year Tory member of Parliament for Parry Sound-Muskoka.
Meanwhile, Aitchison is winding down from the devastating flooding that began up his way early in April and that he says have levelled off by the end of May.
He was also satisfied with the “good start” two weeks ago to provincial talks on finding a solution for next year’s spring freshet.
“It’s a good start. I hope they develop into something. You have to start somewhere.”
If not, he says he speak out.
“I’m a guy who can get things done.”