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PHOTOS: Meet the Ontario PC leadership candidates

Jonathan Rumley
Yahoo Canada News

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks in Ontario politics.

The Ontario PC Party is in the midst of a leadership campaign mere months away from a provincial election.

Patrick Brown was supposed to square off against NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne, Ontario’s premier.

However, Brown resigned as party leader hours after publicly denying allegations of sexual misconduct that were made by two unnamed women in a CTV News story published on Jan. 24.

Brown has said the “false” allegations are “categorically untrue.”

His resignation prompted the party to launch a new leadership race. The race attracted four candidates: Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Caroline Mulroney and Tanya Granic Allen.

The four candidates debated provincial issues on TVO on Feb. 15. A second and final debate took place on Feb. 28.

The fight for leadership of the PC party marks one of the shortest political races in Ontario’s history. It’s also one with so much at stake.

After 15 years of the Liberals in power, winds of change may finally be sweeping through Canada’s most populous province.

Candidates were required to submit $100,000 each in fees and deposits and another $25,000 for access to the party’s membership list.

The new Ontario PC leader will be announced on March 10.

Doug Ford

Doug Ford is a former Toronto councillor and the older brother of the late Rob Ford, the one-time mayor of Toronto. Ford most recently ran against former Ontario PC leader John Tory and former NDP MP Olivia Chow in a race to become the city’s mayor in 2014, finishing in second place. Ford had previously said he would run to become the city’s mayor again in 2018, but leaped at the opportunity to lead the Ontario PCs. He was the first person to enter the provincial race and so far, the only man to do so. Like his brother, Ford is all about saving money for the taxpayer. In an interview with the Toronto Sun, Ford says he wants to get rid of the “nasty carbon tax,” adding he will be adopting 90 per cent of the party’s so-called “People’s Guarantee” platform, put forward by former leader Patrick Brown. The husband and father says he will be able to save money by identifying and eliminating wasteful government spending. When comparing himself to the other leadership candidates, Ford says he’s “the only person that’s actually run government before.” Ford says he intends to run as an MPP in Toronto’s Etobicoke North riding. Photo from Getty Images.

Christine Elliott

Christine Elliott is a former Ontario MPP who finished second to Patrick Brown in the most recent PC leadership race in 2015. Elliott is the wife of the late Jim Flaherty, a former federal finance minister for the Conservatives. As of Feb. 7, Elliott has received endorsements from nine MPPs, while Caroline Mulroney has five and Doug Ford has one, the Toronto Star reports. Elliott served as an MPP for Whitby-Oshawa from 2006 to 2015, making her the candidate with the most experience in provincial politics. “I do have the experience and within a few months of an election that’s really important,” she tells the Toronto Star. Elliott is quite familiar to Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals. The government appointed Elliott as Ontario’s first patient ombudsman in 2015, allowing her to oversee the province’s health sector organizations and make recommendations to improve care. She has since resigned to run for the Ontario PC leadership. Elliott has won a seat in Ontario on four different occassions. Photo from Getty Images.

Caroline Mulroney

Caroline Mulroney is the daughter of former prime minister Brian Mulroney. While her lack of political experience might be a challenge, Mulroney tells Macleans her time spent on Wall Street and Bay Street, while also starting a charity, gives her “real life experience.” The married mother and lawyer says she decided to run because of concerns over Ontario’s debt and interest expense. “I’ve always been a conservative because I believe that government’s not always the solution,” Mulroney reveals to Macleans. On Feb. 8, she posted a statement on her website declaring her outright opposition to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax plan. “In Kathleen Wynne’s Ontario life is unaffordable and the last thing we should consider is a new tax,” she wrote. In 2017, Mulroney announced her intention to run for the Conservative nomination in the Toronto-area riding of York-Simcoe and eventually became the candidate. Photo from Getty Images.

Tanya Granic Allen

Tanya Granic Allen is the president of Parents as First Educators (PAFE), a group that “supports the authority of parents over the education of their children” and opposes Ontario’s sex-education curriculum. The pro-life website LifeSiteNews calls her a “pro-life and pro-family mother of four.” On the PAFE website, Allen says she isn’t convinced any of the declared candidates will have a strong voice. “We have to make sure the social conservative voice is being respected,” Allen wrote on the group’s website. Allen says she doesn’t want the protests of parents in the province to fall on deaf ears. She mentions family values and the important of life on her group’s website. She calls Conservative politicians Pierre Lemieux and Brad Trost “fine men who so ably represented the views of the families and parents of Canada.” Allen calls former PC leader Patrick Brown’s demands “hideous” and calls Caroline Mulroney “a supporter of the Wynne sex-ed curriculum.” Photo from Getty Images.

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