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article imageOntario conservatives stick with Tim Hudak, select new president

By Andrew Moran     Feb 13, 2012 in Politics
Niagara Falls - An overwhelming majority of officials in the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party decided to stick with Tim Hudak as their leader. Meanwhile, Richard Ciano, the chief strategist for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, was voted party president.
Throughout the last provincial election campaign last autumn, many thought that Tim Hudak and the Progressive Conservative Party would trounce Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals. Unfortunately for Hudak, it was his election to lose.
Despite the loss, which nearly gave the Liberal Party another majority at Queen’s Park, Ontario conservatives have reaffirmed Niagara West-Glanbrook Member of Provincial Parliament Tim Hudak and will remain the party’s leader.
At the party’s Annual General Meeting on Saturday in Niagara Falls, 78.7 percent of the 1,600 delegates voted in support of Hudak, who promised that he learned his lesson from the last election, which gave the PC Party an additional 12 seats in the Ontario Legislature.
The PCs elected Richard Ciano as the Ontario PC Party President. Ciano has served as a campaign manager and chief strategist for several conservative politicians, including MPP Peter Shurman in 2007 and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in the mayoral campaign nearly two years ago.
“[Ciano] knows how to win elections, and a guy who knows how to win elections in the city of Toronto by helping run Mayor Ford's successful campaign,” said Hudak in his address. “That's what we need to see in the time ahead.”
Ciano, who received an endorsement former Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, defeated former cabinet minister John Snobelen and former PC Candidate and former Canadian Taxpayers Federation director Kevin Gaudet in the race for the party’s presidency.
“It's a mandate to strengthen the party, to provide more support for our riding associations, our local campaigns,” said Ciano, reports CTV News. “My main message was that we've got to strengthen the support for our grassroots and our volunteers, because that's how we're going to win more seats and make Tim Hudak the next premier.”
Party officials told the delegates in attendance that they are $6.2 million, but say they hope to lower that number to $2 million by the end of this year through fundraising.
It was reported in November that there were rumors that Hudak would trigger an Ontario election next year. In an email to supporters, the Ontario PC leader said he could trigger one if it is deemed necessary.
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