April 16, 2014 · 0 Comments
By James Matthews – A former Tory adviser plans to challenge David Tilson for the party’s Dufferin-Caledon riding nomination.
Caledon resident Paul Hong, a former senior government adviser, will forgo his current Parliament Hill digs for a chance to represent his home riding of Dufferin-Caledon, currently represented by Conservative MP David Tilson.
Mr. Hong was most recently senior policy adviser to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. He’s also worked with several other senior Harper ministers, including Jason Kenney, John Baird, Lawrence Cannon, and David Emerson.
“We must not assume that our riding will always be Conservative,” Mr. Hong said.
“With each election, opposition will get stronger, and we must not underestimate the Justin Trudeau Liberals. In Dufferin-Caledon, we have an opportunity to renew ourselves and to prepare to meet this challenge. But we need to act now.
“We need to ensure our Conservative team has candidates who can fight and win this election, and the elections to come, to keep Trudeau out of government, and to continue providing the strong, principled leadership Canada needs.”
But Mr. Tilson says his electoral record shows there’s no need to challenge him for the nomination. His record at the polls doesn’t give any indication the riding is in danger of changing from Tory Blue to Grits Red.
Indeed, the former local MPP unseated Liberal MP Murray Calder in the 2004 federal election. He eked out the win and ended the Liberals’ decade-long reign.
“The margin increased in 2006 and again in 2008,” Mr. Tilson told The Citizen in an email. “In the 2011 election we led in every poll and had 59 percent of the vote. This was the result of a strong team all pulling together.
“I would say it is unnecessary to challenge me now when I have proven myself to be a strong representative in Ottawa. The residents of Dufferin-Caledon, and the members of the local Conservative Party of Canada, echo that thought. They have told me they are confident in my leadership and I am assured of their continued support in this nomination race and the next federal election.”