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Local nomination candidate has no hard feelings for Ford

Last Updated Apr 22, 2018 at 7:02 pm EDT

Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford holds a unity rally in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford has appointed candidates in nearly a dozen ridings ahead of the upcoming provincial election, and they include the son of a former premier.They include Mike Harris Jr., the son of former Ontario premier Mike Harris, who led a Tory government in the province for nearly seven years from 1995 to 2002. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

The candidate who entered the race for the Tory nomination in Kitchener-Conestoga won’t be taking any action against the Ontario PC Party, after Leader Doug Ford bypassed nomination meetings in 11 ridings.

Instead, Matt Bondy says he’s focused on the bigger picture — defeating the governing Liberals in the upcoming June vote.

The 33-year-old executive with SHAD filed papers last week to enter the nomination race for former PC MPP Michael Harris’ seat. But on Saturday — just weeks shy from the provincial election — Ford appointed 11 Conservative candidates to ridings where no firm nomination meetings had been announced.

They included Mike Harris Jr. — no relation to MPP Michael Harris, but son of former Ontario premier Mike Harris — to represent the PCs in Kitchener-Conestoga.

Bondy says he respects Ford’s right to make appointments, and doesn’t think it was an abuse of power.

“Of course we would have loved to have had a contested nomination. We we’re very prepared for one,” says Bondy. “But Mr. Ford took the tough decision that a slate of appointments were necessary to be election-ready. We don’t compromise that ultimate goal, and I respect the leader’s right to do that.”

Bondy adds he looks forward to volunteering with the PCs wherever he is most needed in Waterloo Region.

“We need everybody who’s looking for change to be on the ground volunteering, knocking on doors, getting the message out,” Bondy says. “If Mike Harris Jr. is anything like his dad, he’ll do great things for the region and the province, so I wish him best of luck.

Two-time incumbent in Kitchener-Conestoga Michael Harris was removed from the Tory caucus, amid allegations of a sexual nature from a former intern.

Earlier this month, Harris Jr. lost the nomination vote to run as the PC candidate for the riding of Waterloo to Dan Weber, a Waterloo-based consultant.

Don Kilimnik, President of the Kitchener-Conestoga PC riding association says they have full confidence in Harris Jr.

“Our board is now behind Mike Jr., and we’re looking forward to the election in June.”