Coates asks Conservatives for a shot in 2019
Sean Chase/Daily Observer Businessman and Conservative candidate Mike Coates makes his final pitch to party membership at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 72 in Pembroke Sunday afternoon. Coates was seeking to represent Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke as the Tory candidate in the 2019 federal election.
With his proven track record in business over the last 35 years, Mike Coates pledged to Conservatives Sunday that he will do what he can to bring back lost jobs and opportunities should he become the next Member of Parliament for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke.
A lifelong Conservative who recently retired as a senior executive in the field of communications and government relations with Hill and Knowlton Strategies, Coates was seeking to unseat incumbent MP Cheryl Gallant, who has not faced a nomination challenge in 18 years. After watching high turnout at voting stations over the weekend in Renfrew and Barry’s Bay, he said there was a feeling that change was in the air.
“People in this riding are tired of being left behind,” Coates said during his five-minute speech to party members at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 72. “Folks it’s time for change. It’s time for a focus on economic development and jobs in this riding. It’s time for a new beginning.”
Choosing not to name Gallant or criticize her performance as MP, Coates stated that people in the riding are tired of seeing their children to leave the riding to pursue their careers, seeing factories shutdown, watching jobs get lost in the forestry and agriculture sectors. He stated that the job of MP was never meant to be a career insisting a person’s term in Ottawa should be limited to at least three terms. A change allows a party to renew itself and create new ideas, he added.
“In the business you have to change your brand every so often or your competition is going to catch you,” said Coates. “I am worried that a lot of our own voters will leave us in the next election.”
Coates, a resident of Griffith, recently chaired Kevin O'Leary's leadership campaign. A graduate of York University and Queen's University, his political experience goes back to 1980, when he worked on Parliament Hill for then minister of state for the Treasury Board Perrin Beatty and Senator Lowell Murray. Coates was secretary and treasurer for the federal Progressive Conservatives. He helped former prime minister Stephen Harper in his debate preparation and worked on national campaigns between 1988 and 2008, including raising funds for former prime minister Brian Mulroney’s campaign.
“I think we have a great opportunity here today but it is an opportunity that may not come again for a very long time,” said Coates, who was willing to represent all residents no matter their political affiliation. “If you are a member of this riding, my job as an MP is to look after all of you, and that is what I intend to do.”