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MPP Smith considers run at PC leadership while interim leader ‘rules out rot’

UPDATE: Todd Smith puts family first over cost-prohibitive bid for PC leadership (click to read update)

Vic Fedeli in February 2012, attending Todd Smith’s full-house Town Hall meeting on wind turbines.

Prince Edward Hastings MP Todd Smith is considering a bid for the PC leadership as the Ontario party’s interim leader Vic Fedeli confirmed Tuesday, he won’t seek the position in a leadership contest.

“I was a strong supporter of our interim leader to remain in place to provide stability our party needs 100 days out from the start of the election,” said Smith.
“However, when Vic decided against participating in the leadership race and instead is turning his attention to cleaning up some of the internal issues, my focus changed.”

Smith has been receiving messages of encouragement at home, in Toronto and from across the province, to enter the race.

Though Smith supported Fedeli as the right person to lead the party, he said the interim leader is also the steady hand necessary to correct problems before they get out of control.

Fedeli, selected Friday by caucus after leader Patrick Brown resigned over sexual misconduct allegations, said he wants to focus on fixing party issues with membership lists, internal reporting and computer systems security which was hit by a ransomware attack last November.

“I will root out any rot that manifests itself,” Fedeli told reporters Tuesday at Queen’s Park.

In a chaotic week following Brown’s resignation, party present Rick Dykstra has also stepped down hours before Maclean’s magazine released a story alleging sexual assault of a staffer when he was an MP in 2014.

The allegations against him, and Brown, have not been proven in court. So far, no charges have been laid. Brown’s allegations came to light late last Wednesday in a CTV News report.

Sunday, the PCs also parted ways with several staff linked closely with Brown and eliminated several junior positions in the party. Brown’s chief of staff, Alykhan Velshi, is staying on. He had announced he would be resigning late Wednesday evening when Brown was rejecting caucus advice to quit.

Tuesday, Fedeli announced a shadow cabinet shuffle that put MP Lisa MacLeod in his former position as finance critic; Lorne Coe as education critic replacing Brown and Lisa Thompson as caucus chair, replacing Toby Barrett. Smith remains as the party’s energy critic.

Should Smith enter, he would join former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford as the only other candidate who has formally joined the race. Former MPP Christine Elliott’s name is also being bandied about as is the names of Caroline Mulroney, Rod Phillips and a few others.

The PC executive and leadership organizing committee is expected to set rules for the race soon.

Meanwhile, Smith said he would continue to consult with members of the party, and most importantly, his family, friends and staff.

“No matter if I decide to run or not, we have to unite behind our next leader and defeat Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberals in June,” said Smith. “It is not an easy decision and there is much to consider. I will be having that discussion with my friends, supporters, staff, and most importanly, my family, over the next few days.”

Smith was first elected in 2011, defeating Liberal incument Leona Dombrowsky by more than 3,000 votes. Previously he held a 16-year career in radio with Quinte Broadcasting. He was re-elected in 2014, defeating Liberal candidate Georgina Thompson by more than 4,000 votes.

“In the last six plus years serving at Queen’s Park I have learned a lot about how Liberal policies have made life more difficult for the people of Ontario.”

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  1. Susan says:

    Hmm. I said any Smith run was a non starter.

  2. Dennis Fox says:

    Hello Chuck – I did include in my last posting comments that reflected accurately what the Toronto newspapers (in the past) have written about both Rob ad Doug Ford – outlining their police record and their relationship with the drug world. Unfortunately, CountyLive censored my comments – I have no idea why. So I am sorry,that I cannot answer your question with the necessary details – I did try.

  3. Chuck says:

    So Dennis, what is so, so wrong with Doug Ford. There are many that quite like him and he could win GTA ridings that the Tories so desparately need.

  4. Gary says:

    How did the PC party fall into the hands of these individuals resulting in rot and utter chaos?

  5. olmnonthmtn says:

    “Late last year, parents descended on Queen’s Park to protest the flurry of school closings coming — more than 600 are currently under threat — which boards blame, in part, on changes to funding that was used to help keep those in rural areas going. The organizer, Ontario Alliance Against School Closures, called the closings a “tidal wave . . . sweeping the province” and asked for a moratorium” Toronto Star Jan 22/17

    This article featured a school in Honey Harbour, Trillium Lakelands School District. It looked at the inordinate amount of time the young children of a young family who deliberately moved to the area due to its appeal. Seems that the 1 billion dollars wasted in the gas plant scandal could assist in reformulating the organization of these schools for multipurpose community uses that would include the schooling of children of young families. Lets not forget it was the Chretien/Martin federal government who cut transfer payment which helped fund education and health in Ontario during Harris’s government just sayin

  6. Dennis Fox says:

    Dear Girl Friday….

    You claim that Doug Ford does??!!! Man if he is Ontario’s only hope for a decent government, then we are in huge trouble.

  7. Girl Friday says:

    Politics is now spectacle. Patrick Brown was thrown under the bus because he did not have a chance against the resurgent Wynne and the misguided loyalty of the urbane. Doubtful Todd does either. Doug Ford does. Enjoy the theatre of the absurd. It’s the only investment in the power process that won’t crush your heart.

  8. Dennis Fox says:

    I want to re-iterate what I wrote earlier – both parties have cheated the Ontario voters and owe us an apology for deceiving us into thinking they were honest people. How anyone can abuse another human being is beyond me, thinking they can get away with it because they are a politician is criminal.

    Just to reply to an earlier comment about rural schools – for the last 10 years,rural schools have received twice the amount of funding per student than an urban student does. Rural schools across the province are experiencing a dramatic decline in enrollment. You can’t blame our local trustees nor the provincial government for the lack of babies being born. If local governments would stop promoting their communities as retirement havens, it might help the local birth rate.

    To the writer – “olmnonthmtn” – if you want to drag up past political sins – don’t forget Mike Harris and his amalgamation mess and his closures of schools and hospitals across the province. We are still paying for his mess. Just saying.

  9. Emily says:

    I think Dennis is correct in stating Smith will need to answer definitely as all PC, MPP’s will need to, as to what they were aware of in regards to the top 2 Tories in Brown and Dykstra. The Fed PC leader has announced a review of how Dykstra was given the nod to run in the 2015 election.

  10. Fred says:

    You think the PC’s didn’t know the history on their party President? Vic has a lot of work to do in short order to rid the rot as he put it! Policy differences aside sexual misconduct by the 2 top Tory positions is just despicable.

  11. olmnonthmtn says:

    Hmm how about the libs promising no new taxes then adding a health premium, their application of the hst on our hydro, heating fuel et al., escalating costs of services (eg. licences), the creation of costly LHINs for what purpose? and lets not forget the ornge helicopter deal, the fiasco of the Green Energy Act e.g.. sky rocketing electricity prices, the illegal erasing of “gas deal” hard drives, liberal party officios getting lucrative green energy contracts, the proroguing of the legislature to escape scrutiny, manipulating candidates, buying public union votes eg. funding unions to negotiate against them, decimating rural schools and the deputy minister of education pleading guilty to three child pornography-related charges. Wow “how more dishonest and despicable can they get?” Seems like parties in glass house shouldn’t throw stones! Better vote for Bob Rae oops I mean Andrea Horvath.

  12. Fred says:

    The PC’s have hired an investigator to review MPP Hillier of Lanark Frontenac Lennox & Addington on allegations from PC Carleton nominee of being physically accosted .

  13. Dennis Fox says:

    No doubt the Liberals have had their problems from Dalton and the gas plants to wind turbines. Their track record on their energy policy is a total mess and sham – BUT that is a far different crime than what the Conservatives are facing – sexual abuse of women and their attempt to sweep that under the carpet – to the internal fraud and theft from within their own ranks, plus we are now hearing about their “questionable” membership lists and their riding nomination processes. How more dishonest and despicable can they get?

    Frankly the ones to feel sorry for are the Ontario voters – the people who we have placed trust in have totally let us down – in both parties! Todd Smith is their Energy Critic -a senior position within the Tory party, and supposedly in the know. Did he have any knowledge of what was going on with Brown and Dykstra? He has a lot of explaining to do before election day,for whatever position he decides to run for.

  14. olmnonthmtn says:

    hmm so it looks like a decision vis a vis a party that is trying to clean its closet or a party which likes to hide things in its closet before an election or a vote for a party which has nothing to lose

  15. Fred says:

    Federal MP’s are now clammering as how Dykstra was allowed to run in the 2015 election with party officials knowing of the sexual assault complaint made by a staffer in 2014. Even larger question is how the Ontario PC’s would make him President knowing even more accusations came out of the 2015 election campaign. Scary decision making.

  16. Gary says:

    The million dollar question is how a Party in such disarray can root out the rot, complete investigations into MPP’s intimidation, spending violations, hacked membership data bases and widespread alleged sexual misconduct from the former leader to former party president in a short few weeks. Certainly does not present a lot of confidence in the “People’s Guarantee”. Even if one thought it was time for a change in government, how could you presently place trust in the PC’s?

  17. olmnonthmtn says:

    The actual quote from Fideli was he will forego a leadership run to “root out any rot” in the party not “all the rot” a difference in meaning and intent, a role the Ontario Liberal Party should have undertaken a number of years ago! Better to clean the house now than entrench the corruption that we’re seeing with the Liberal party. GO TODD!

  18. Susan says:

    Doug Ford may be the path to victory for the Tories. Ford Nation could very well deliver 4-5 seats in the 905 belt that is a must. That of course was the logic prior to the PC party displaying all their dirty laundry, sexual indiscretions and ineptness to the public,calling into question their capabilities to manage the province.

  19. Dennis Fox says:

    I have nothing against Tod Smith – but I refuse to jump on any band wagon – particularly a Conservative one. As Vic Fedeli explained, as interim leader, he has to root out all the rot of the party – from sexual abuse allegations to missing party money, prior to the election in June. He made it sound like their entire party was corrupt and in chaos. After the news report, the question was asked – if they can’t run and keep control of their own party – how can they run a province?

    A very good question indeed.

  20. Old Timer says:

    Like Doug Ford ? Let’s hope not ! Todd is a very smart man and I think if he did jump in it could easily go viral. Todd speaks his mind and that would be very refreshing on Parliament Hill !

  21. Susan says:

    Not a chance this goes anywhere. $$ and big names will grab this up pretty quickly.

  22. Old Timer says:

    Dear Tawnya
    Can Todd please come out to play . I think he is the life of the Party and the Party needs a lift, and soon !
    Thank You Tawnya , Payton and Reagan and please give him a big hug and a “GO FOR IT” .
    P.S. Awesome Job on Garrett’s Legacy Act…

  23. Go for it Todd. You will be a super Leader!!

  24. Fred says:

    If successful I hope he finds a safe seat to run in for a party that is presently rotten to the core and cannot manage it’s own house thus cannot manage a province. The party is in complete disarray with sexual inappropriateness, intimidation, spending violations and hacks on member privacy information.

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