In the summer of 2014, my wife Kate, daughter Annie and I had the opportunity to meet people all across Ontario as we kicked off our leadership campaign by visiting every riding in the province. It was a great experience for us as a family - and a way to meet and listen to the grassroots of our party.
Back then, the Ontario PC Party had fewer than ten thousand members.
Today, nine months later, I'm pleased to say that our campaign directly signed up more than 12,000 conservatives, in every riding all across Ontario. Our goal has always been to build a new conservative coalition, and we are well on the way to doing that.
Our campaign has stood proudly by offering strong conservative ideas and by telling people exactly where I would take our province and our Party. From balanced budgets, repealing and refunding Kathleen Wynne’s ORPP pension scheme, to ending expensive wind energy and significantly reforming our Party, our ideas have attracted thousands of new people to our cause.
I also stood - and will continue to stand - on behalf of parents who are outraged that the Kathleen Wynne Liberals are forcing a new sex-ed curriculum on their children without any real parental consultation. I strongly believe that parents should be the first educators of their children and that it is not the government’s role to tell parents what is age appropriate for their children.
Despite these successes our campaign has now reached an important crossroads, and I want to let you know that this morning I will begin taking the steps to wind-down my campaign for leader.
I wish to thank - first and foremost - my wife Kate and our daughter Annie - for their love, encouragement, dedication and support. It has been hard being on the road and I miss them every day. I look forward to spending more time with them and more time at home.
I want to thank my outstanding campaign team, including staff, volunteers, donors, recruiters and supporters from all across Ontario. All of them worked exceptionally long hours and dedicated everything to our cause of bringing a strong, conservative voice to this leadership race.
And finally, thank you to those who joined our Party in support of our campaign. Please know that I will continue to stand-up for the important ideas that we have brought forward and championed together. Thank you for standing with me. I am excited to continue working with you and look forward to seeing you soon.
I am happy to be endorsing Patrick Brown today for leader of our Party. Patrick has demonstrated that he has the energy and ability to bring thousands of new members from diverse backgrounds and different points of view into our Party, which is exactly what I’ve been saying we need.
As a fellow conservative, he will reform our Party. I look forward to working with him to build a larger, stronger, modern Party that will give a voice to every member and reflect the real priorities of Ontario families.
He is the best choice to lead the Ontario PC Party at this time, and I am pleased to support him.
My family and I thank you for your continued prayers and support, and we look forward to seeing you soon. Thank you!