News Provincial

Caroline Mulroney eyes running for PCs in Ontario election

Brian Platt and Miriam King, Postmedia Network

Caroline Mulroney, daughter of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, is making her entrance into politics — though she’s going the provincial route.

On Wednesday, Mulroney announced she’s seeking the Ontario Progressive Conservative nomination in the Toronto-area riding of York-Simcoe. She would be a star candidate for a party that’s been riding atop provincial polls since Patrick Brown was elected leader in 2015, aiming to end a decade and a half of Ontario Liberal rule.

“As a working mother of four, I know we need change,” the 43-year-old Mulroney says in a video announcing her candidacy. “Government needs to get out of the way, focus more on affordability, manage taxes properly so we get the services we expect.”

Mulroney has been making herself more visible in party politics recently, including a stint co-hosting the federal Conservative leadership convention in May. Last fall she introduced Brown at a fundraising dinner.

“I have great confidence in Patrick Brown,” Mulroney told the Bradford Times. “He understands what people here want and care about.”

Mulroney has a home in Georgina, which is in the riding, and says she’s getting a sense of what local voters are looking for in the election scheduled for June 2018.

“From all the people I’ve spoken with, the people of York-Simcoe want change. People tell me that what matters to them is the rising cost of living – the cost of housing, hydro rates, taxes… the affordability.”

The Ontario PCs have already gotten some advice from her father, who dropped by the Ontario legislature in April 2016 at Brown’s request to give some advice to the caucus on winning the next election.

Brown has previously said that he first decided he was a Conservative when, during grade school, he wrote a letter to then-Prime Minister Mulroney about acid rain and got a response back. “I told my parents, ‘I think I agree with the Conservative party,’” he said in a 2015 Toronto Life interview.

Caroline Mulroney had long been rumoured to be considering a political run, though some speculated she might run federally. Her brother Mark, head of equity capital markets at the National Bank of Canada, had been talked about as a potential leadership candidate to replace Stephen Harper, though he stayed out. Her other brother Ben co-hosts a national morning program on CTV.

Caroline studied at Harvard College, has a law degree from New York University, and has a long resume of experience at investment firms and philanthropic organizations. She is currently a vice president at BloombergSen, a Toronto-based investment counselling firm, and is the co-founder and chair of the Shoebox Project for Shelters charity, which collects gifts for women and girls in shelters or facing homelessness.

If she wins the nomination, she’ll be running in a riding vacated by long-time PC MPP Julia Munro, who is retiring. York-Simcoe, located just north of Toronto, has been easily won by Munro in each election since it was created in 2007, and Munro has held a seat in the legislature since 1995.

Mulroney has received endorsements from Munro and from Conservative MP Peter Van Loan, who holds the federal seat for the riding.

bplatt@postmedia.com 

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