OTTAWA – Progressive Conservative finance critic Victor Fedeli is signalling he will launch a leadership bid in September, with sources telling Global News he is expected to make the announcement after Labour Day weekend.
In an interview, the two-term MPP for Nipissing, Ont. said he is still considering the bid for PC leadership, calling himself a “potential PC candidate.”
“If I launch in September, if I decide to do this, I will come out with very positive suggestions about a vision for Ontario,” Fedeli said.
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“What I’m going to say first in the party and then hopefully to the people of Ontario, I have a proven business expertise – and I think we need that business acumen to help turn around Ontario. We’re in a very troubling financial state that the Liberal government has got us into.”
The former business owner and two-term mayor of North Bay said he is touring the province as part of the party’s plan to reach out to the grassroots and rebuild. Former leader Tim Hudak stepped down following the party’s crushing loss to the Liberals in June’s Ontario election.
There are 11 meetings planned with party members.
“We’ve been listening to what the members have to say, and so at that point at the end of the summer I’ll make a decision,” Fedeli said.
“Certainly they’re upset and they have every right to be. We’ve lost four elections in a row, so it’s very clear that the PC party is not doing the right thing to get elected.
“But they’re also being proactive in coming up with ideas about how we can start to listen to the grassroots and listen to the executive, listen to the caucus, these kinds of things. So it’s been a very positive experience.”
PC party president Richard Ciano said the party has not yet formally initiated the leadership race or set out a timeline, but the party executive next meets on Aug. 9.
“We’ve sort of avoided the temptation of moving too quickly. We wanted to consult with the grassroots before laying out the way forward,” Ciano said.
So far, only Christine Elliott, the MPP for Whitby-Oshawa, has formally announced her intention to run for leader.