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Wilson won't be drawn into Simcoe-Grey nomination speculation

Posted April 28, 2010

Last Saturday was an unusual morning for card-carrying Conservatives in Simcoe-Grey.

Members of both the provincial and federal riding associations were faced with the rare overlap of membership meetings on the same day, same time, but in different communities.

Provincially, incumbent MPP Jim Wilson was being acclaimed as the Progressive Conservative candidate for the 2011 elections in Creemore, while his federal kin were holding their Annual General Meeting in New Lowell.

While Mr. Wilson's meeting was uneventful in that its conclusion was expected, it was anything but conventional for Conservatives federally as their candidate, Helena Guergis, remains at the epi-centre of a national media storm, expelled from the Conservative caucus, no longer certain whether she will even be the Party's candidate. Because the media was barred from the meeting, only published exit interview accounts are available, all denying Ms. Guergis' status was discussed, but affirming that the riding executive supports her.

"The riding association has a responsibility to be election-ready, and how do we become election-ready if the member is not part of the Conservative caucus?" according to recently published comments by riding executive Paul Shaw. "If an election is called, we have some responsibility to make sure a Conservative is on the ballot."

New Tecumseth mayor Mike MacEachern is not ruling out the idea of seeking the nomination should it become available and Ward 5 councillor Jess Prothero, is giving it serious consideration. Ellen Anderson, the mayor of Blue Mountains in Grey County near Collingwood, is also up for consideration.

Mr. Wilson's name is now surfacing as an "ideal" candidate, speculation which he is hearing about too.

In September, the Simcoe-Grey MPP will celebrate his 20th year in office, the first five in opposition. In 1995, then new Premier Mike Harris appointed him Minister of Health. In 1997, he moved to Energy, Science and Technology, and also held Northern Development and Mines, and Minister of the Environment. He is currently Deputy Speaker of the House, and a Critic for Colleges and Universities.

"I'm obviously flattered by the suggestion," replied Mr. Wilson in an email to Free Press Online, "but I have not commented on the issue to date."

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