pthvnyi · 2021-01-25

Dunlop says Tory faced long odds as ‘outsider’

John Tory’s defeat in an Ontario byelection last week has left the provincial Conservatives the challenge of finding a new leader to guide the party into the 2011 election.

Tory announced his resignation on Friday, saying he would stay on for a couple of weeks while an interim leader is picked to serve until a convention can be held, likely in June.

“All I know is that I tried my best,” Tory told reporters when asked about losing to Liberal Rick Johnson in the rural riding of Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, northeast of Peterborough. “Whether it was me or the party or some combination thereof will be for (the media) to decide when they write up the history.”

Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop told The Mirror he was not surprised by Tory’s defeat.

“It was a very difficult job for John to win that riding,” he said. “There was certainly a resentment that he was an outsider coming in to represent a riding that had been represented for decades by people who were born and raised locally, so I think that was against him from Day 1.”

Despite that, Dunlop said he knows Tory worked hard in the riding and did the best he could.

Dunlop added Rick Johnson is someone he will likely be working with quite a bit due to the two ridings’ shared border.

The likely reason Tory failed to win the seat, noted Dunlop, is that people wanted to be represented by someone from the community.

“I would assume most people would want (their MPP to be a local). In rural ridings … if you represent a riding, you live there,” he said. “Usually, the voters know what’s right and they’ll make a decision in the best interest of the riding.”

– With files from Torstar News Services

nmillion@simcoe.com