Leek bullish on leadership convention
The president of the Kenora-Rainy River Liberal Riding Association is excited to attend this weekend’s leadership convention in Toronto, where the province’s new premier will be chosen.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Emo Coun. Anthony Leek, who also is the Northern Regional vice-president for the Ontario Liberal Party.
“I hear the atmosphere is pretty amazing,” Coun. Leek added. “I’m looking at it as positive.”
Thousands of delegates and Liberal supporters will gather at Maple Leaf Gardens, which will culminate in the election of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s successor on Saturday.
In his executive role, Coun. Leek has worked with the executive councils from the other regions of Ontario and, in fact, assisted with preparations for the upcoming leadership convention.
“I’ve had a part in helping to create the rules and procedures and the dates of everything that’s happening for this leadership convention,” he noted, adding he was part of the decision in choosing this weekend to hold the event.
“It’s pretty neat,” he remarked. “It’s nice to work within the party that way.”
Coun. Leek also said he’s looking forward to connecting with other Ontario Liberals to talk about the issues, get to know one another, and to create relationships and friendships.
And he’s anxious to see who will become the province’s next premier.
“For me, whoever becomes the premier and leader of the party is someone I want to work with,” he said.
“I think all of us in the northwest, in Kenora-Rainy River, would appreciate the new leader to come and have a visit sometime in the near future after the election.
“So I look forward to whoever does get elected and hopefully we can have a good working relationship,” he added.
Those in the running to replace Premier McGuinty are former Windsor-West MPP Sandra Pupatello, former education minister Kathleen Wynne, former MP Gerard Kennedy, former government services minister Harinder Takhar, former labour minister Charles Sousa, and former children’s services minister Eric Hoskins.
Coun. Leek, who wouldn’t reveal who he is backing, believes any of the candidates are a good choice for the party’s leader and will benefit the local riding.
“As long as the lines of communication stay open between the riding association and the people in the higher levels of the party, I think that good things can happen for sure,” he stressed.
“I think it’s very important that the premier and leader of the party takes the time to be involved in as many areas as possible.”
Coun. Leek said he has an open invitation to anybody in the party to come to the Kenora-Rainy River riding to see what life is like up here, the situations residents here deal with, and both the positives and negatives.
“It’s all about creating a working relationship and I think the leader of the party would be more than willing to do that,” he noted.
In addition to Coun. Leek, there are 13 or 14 others from the riding who also will be travelling to Toronto for the leadership convention.
“It’s really good representation for Kenora-Rainy River to go down to the leadership convention,” he remarked.
“I think it really shows the resurgence of our riding association. . . . It’s nice to see the comeback and it’s come back very strongly.
“We’ve moved forward, moved up a lot, and are more organized,” Coun. Leek added.
“So to see this many people willing to go down to Toronto and help choose the next leader of the Ontario Liberal Party and the premier, I think that bodes well for all of us.”