Federal Tory candidates try to woo Islanders

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Federal Tory candidates try to woo Islanders

With less than a month to go before the federal Conservative party picks a new leader, five of the 13 candidates spent Friday trying to woo members in Charlottetown.

Michael Chong, Kellie Leitch, Erin O'Toole, Lisa Raitt and Andrew Saxton were at a fundraising event at the Charlottetown Hotel put on by the Charlottetown Conservative Association.

With the deadline to sign up new supporters now behind them, candidates are shifting their attention to existing party members.

There are about 1,000 members on P.E.I. One of them is Shirley Lank, who says her vote is still up for grabs — but seeing the candidates in person will help her make her final decision.

"It is difficult to decide because you don't really know them," she said. "A lot of them are names you haven't heard a whole lot before but it's helpful to see them in person. You don't get the perception on a TV screen as you do in person."

All ridings equal

Each riding, regardless of the number of members, counts equally toward the vote. So P.E.I.'s four ridings are worth as much to these candidates as any riding in the country.

That's why Andrew Saxton has made four trips to the Island, more than any of the other candidates.

"We didn't win any seats in here the last election. We need to win seats here in the next election," he said.

"Atlantic Canada is extremely important to our country and it's extremely important to the Conservative Party and that's why I'm spending a lot of time here."

Martha Ellis, one of the organizers of Friday's fundraiser, invited all 13 candidates and said she was "delighted" to get five.

"We've got 13 spectacular candidates running across the country and I want to enable people from Prince Edward Island to get to know them."

'We're in real life'

Lank said she got to know them a little better. Finance is important to her, she said, and she wanted to hear their positions first-hand.

"I don't think we can continue to spend, spend, spend," Lank said. "Can't do that in real life and we're in real life so I'm concerned for my grandchildren."

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