Nicholls prepares for fourth election, this time with new Party

·4 min read

As the reigning Member of Provincial Parliament in Chatham-Kent-Leamington prepares for his fourth election, he said this time around, things feel different.

“I think one of the reasons why it’s a different election is because there are basically two additional conservative parties running,” said Rick Nicholls, who is no longer be running for the Conservative Party.

In August, Nicholls joined the Ontario Party after he was removed from the PC caucus after refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19. He clarified the Ontario Party is, in fact, a true conservative party. He added the values and principles are all about truth and transparency, faith, family and fiscal responsibility.

“My reason for joining the Ontario Party was pretty straightforward. I am a conservative. However, having said that, I became very much disenchanted with the movement and direction the Ford government is going,” he said.

Nicholls stated that he believes the “Doug Ford Liberals are running the province right now.”

“I hate to say it, but that’s why I call him the Doug Ford liberals. I sat in the legislature. I listened to the budget presentation. On the last day before they decided they were not going to have any debate on the budget, not going to vote on the budget, and take it the way it was. And that became their election platform. Sadly, it’s all about spend, spend, spend, giveaway giveaway giveaway. And that’s not what we’re all about; we’re about fiscal responsibility.”

According to Nicholls, fiscal responsibility is a major issue, and he doesn’t want his party to be spending what they don’t have.

“We need to look for ways of getting people back to work, getting people employed, bringing new business, corporations into the areas so that people can again begin to start making decent money,” he said.

Nicholls said the biggest issue Ontario is currently facing is Healthcare. He added mandates are one of the roadblocks contributing to the crisis.

“Healthcare is a big issue because now what’s happened is even in health care, they’ve created a crisis,” he said. “So we’ve created a health crisis, when in fact, we’re forcing doctors to either comply with the College of Physicians and Surgeons or else lose their license.”

Nicholls admitted there is a lot of confusion surrounding the Ontario Party, the New Blue and the Conservatives.

“I think, first of all, people have to realize that Doug Ford is no longer conservative,” he said. “The Ontario Party has been around since 2018 but only really started formulating our ideas and platforms and getting good, sound, solid candidates to run for us, starting back in November of last year. We are relatively new, and I get that. But we have 105 candidates in this upcoming election. We’re very excited about that,” he said.

Despite being removed from caucus, Nicholls said he believes he has done a lot of good for the area over his 11 years. He believes his biggest competition will be Ontario PC Party candidate Trevor Jones – but he questions how serious he is taking the election.

“My big competition is going to be the Ontario PC party and their candidate, Trevor Jones, who has not shown up for a televised debate in Leamington, his hometown. We also had a televised debate in Chatham, and he didn’t show up there either. So I have to question how serious he is,” said Nicholls.

The incumbent also said the Ontario party has a plan to “get back to the basics” when it comes to schooling.

“I mean, we’ve got to get back to the basics. And that’s one of the things that the Ontario Party will do. We will get back to the basics. We want kids to know how to add, subtract, multiply and divide – and do it in their head,” he said. “We’re not going backwards. We’re teaching people how to think and to have that mental agility, which seems to be lacking right now.”

For Nicholls, he said choosing the Ontario Party was a simple choice.

“You can always tell a lot about a party by its leader. And that’s why I chose the Ontario party,” he said.”

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News

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