Gillies eyes return to Queen's Park
Photo by Jason Teakle, Brant News
With many expecting a provincial election call next year, former Brant MPP Phil Gillies has announced he is seeking the Ontario Progressive Conservative nomination in the riding.
"I believe very strongly it is time to push the reset button here in Brant," Gillies said. "I believe very strongly that we need a new government in Ontario. We have seen an increasingly tired and lethargic Liberal government falling into bad habits."
Gillies, who made the announcement flanked by supporters at the Station Coffee House and Gallery on Tuesday afternoon, decried the track record of the provincial Liberals.
"We've seen the ORNGE air ambulance mess now being investigated by the OPP," Gillies said. "We've seen the billion-dollar boondoggle that was eHealth, we've seen the massive expenditures of moving the power plants out of Mississauga and Oakville…which was done for crass political purposes. This kind of nonsense has just gone on too long and we have to reverse this trend."
Gillies said he has officially thrown his hat in the ring, filing his papers for the nomination that will be determined by party members during a local PC nomination meeting in Brantford at the Best Western Brant Park Inn on Dec. 4.
Gillies cited his experience in provincial politics as his edge. He represented Brant riding in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1981 until 1987 – serving as Minister of Skills Development and Youth in 1985 under the PC government of former Ontario Premier Frank Miller.
But Gillies said he doesn't believe his nomination is a done deal yet.
"I take nothing for granted," Gillies said. "I don't know yet whether we are going to have a contested nomination.
"I want you to join me on this journey that starts here today and goes all the way to the front doors of Queen's Park."
But Gillies may not go uncontested in the local PC nomination.
Former city councillor and mayoral candidate Mark Littell said during an interview that he may also seek the PC nomination in Brant riding.
Gillies said although he has lived outside of the riding off and on, he grew up in Brantford and served as a member of several local service clubs and boards.
"I was in Brant a lot while running (former PC candidate) Michael St. Amant's campaign last year," Gillies said. "I have not been far away."
Gillies said he will work to bring new business to Brant riding and that any future Ontario government needs to help resolve outstanding native land claims issues, to help make new local jobs a reality.
"I want you to know, that as your member (of parliament), there is nowhere I won't go, there is no stone I won't turn over to find new opportunities and new investment for the community," Gillies said.
Bringing more post-secondary educational opportunities and GO Transit service to the riding will be priorities he will pursue if he is nominated and elected, Gillies said.