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Tories to vote for candidate Feb. 24-25

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

Conservative Party of Canada members within the riding of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke will be voting Feb. 24–25 for their candidate in the 2019 election.


This is the first time in 18 years such a vote occurred since MP Cheryl Gallant first took office, back when she was a member of the Canadian Alliance, prior to its merger with the PCs.

Those wishing to vote in this nomination process have until Feb. 1 to purchase a membership in the party,

In a press release, Mike Coates, who is challenging Gallant for the candidacy, said he and his team were notified of the voting dates recently, as well as the communities where it will be held – Pembroke and Renfrew.

“That’s all we know for sure,” he said, stating the process to hold a nomination is in the hands of a local candidate nomination committee, which is comprised of Gallant's executive.

“The lack of timely information about the process is disappointing,” said Coates. “Conservative members want to make their plans around the actual voting days, and the lack of transparency isn’t helping. I’ve written to the executive Director of the Party asking for immediate confirmation of dates, times and locations. I hope to get clarity shortly.”

Coates said allowing less than a month for the team to travel around one of the largest ridings in the country has been a challenge, but he believes they has met that challenge and encountered nothing but positive feedback from all those they meet.

“There is a desire for change, and we are confident we will deliver that change," he said. "I want to use my national and international network of business and government contacts to bring jobs and investment to our riding."

Coates said over the past 20 years, the riding has lost its way in terms of economic development and progress.

“I am committed to working with municipal officials who see my candidacy as part of the solution to help kick start economic growth for Ottawa Valley families," he said.

Coates said he wants to debate Gallant in a public forum, but stated so far she has not responded to his request.

"It is very important that we appear together to discuss the issues in a formal debate in front of our members," he said. "That is the only way to allow the membership to make an informed decision ahead of the voting dates.”

"I am hopeful Mrs. Gallant will stand with me in front of our members and together, so we can clearly state our vision and platform that will pave the way for another Conservative victory in 2019," Coates said.

Efforts to contact the MP or her team have gone unanswered as of press time.

While she has not publicly commended on the candidacy challenge, Gallant has posted a number of times on social media through her Facebook page, encouraging her supporters to come out and help her.

“The Conservative Party has now officially launched a nomination race in Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, as part of the democratic process,” the post, dated Jan. 12, 2018, reads.

“I am asking for your help to be re-selected as your Conservative candidate. Your continued trust allows me to raise the issues that are important to you and your family.”

“You know from my record, I will always defend our way of life, even when outsiders do not understand. Being passionate about you, us, and the values we hold dear is my commitment to you as I seek your help.” 

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