By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express
Just under a month since Christine Elliott resigned her seat at Queen’s Park, the first person has thrown his hat into the ring to replace her – and it’s Whitby councillor Lorne Coe.
Coe announced his intention to run for the Progressive Conservative Party’s nomination during a break at the most recent meeting of regional council.
“It’s a position that I’ve been working towards for quite a long time, not only being a councillor for 12 years and serving the town of Whitby, but also working as a civil servant at Queen’s Park in a number of ministries,” Coe said at a press conference announcing his intention to run. “What’s clear is that the residents of Whitby-Oshawa did not elect a government to raise taxes, to have higher prices, to sell Ontario hydro and leave us with the deficit that we have the present time.”
The regional councillor says that he will remain in his current role until the time of a byelection, at which time he will take a 28-day unpaid leave of absence should he win the nomination.
Premier Kathleen Wynne has six months from the date of Elliott’s resignation – Aug 28 – to formally call a byelection.
The former MPP for Whitby-Oshawa, who following her loss of a leadership bid for the party to newly-elected Simcoe North MPP Patrick Brown, has thrown her support behind Coe.
Coe has been a Whitby councillor since 2003, and is currently the head of the region’s health and social services committee. He also sits on the board of directors for a number of local organizations, including the Durham Region Non Profit Housing Corporation, the Association of Local Public Health Agencies and the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority.