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McNaughton pushed local control  

Credit:  By KELLY PEDRO, The London Free Press, www.lfpress.com 7 October 2011 ~~

Newbury – In a race that was blown open, PC candidate Monte McNaughton snatched Lambton-Kent Middlesex away from Maria Van Bommel, defeating the two-term Liberal backbencher in a riding where controversial wind turbines overshadowed the campaign.

McNaughton said he heard at the doorstep wind turbines were a huge issue for the riding and that at Queen’s Park he’ll push to restore local control in decision-making.

“Dalton McGuinty is sitting in his office, telling people in Lambton-Kent-Middlesex where the turbines are going to go.”

The 34-year-old also said rural hospitals, small businesses and making life affordable for families in the riding were his top priorities.

Despite a last-minute visit by McGuinty, Van Bommel couldn’t overcome rural opposition to the Liberals’ Green Energy Act, a sore spot for rural voters who live in the shadow of the large wind turbines.

So heated was the issue that months before the election, protesters gathered outside Van Bommel’s Strathroy office. Wind Concerns Ontario, an anti-turbine group, also toured the province, denouncing the Liberals and the Green Energy Act. In Strathroy, Van Bommel thanked her supporters for what she called a challenging-but-wonderful eight years: “We fought hard and left no stone unturned. We have everything to be proud of in the battle that we fought.”

McNaughton, who narrowly lost to Van Bommel in 2007 by fewer than 3,000 votes, began campaigning the day after that election. “This is unfinished business,” said his campaign manager, Joshua Workman, adding this campaign had a different feel in the air than the one in 2007.

One of the largest ridings in the region, Lambton-Kent-Middlesex stretches from Wallaceburg to Grand Bend, through Strathroy and up to Parkhill.

McNaughton, a business owner from Newbury and former village councillor, also beat out NDP candidate Joe Hill, who ran federally in the riding this year. Others who ran in this campaign were Brad Harness; leader of the Reform party of Ontario; Janie Armstrong of the Green party; Freedom party candidate Tom Jackson; and Marnius Vander Vloet of the Family Coalition Party.

with files from Alana Power, UWO Intern

E-mail kelly.pedro@sunmedia.ca, or follow KellyatLFPress on Twitter.

LAMBTON-KENT-MIDLESEX

Monte McNaughton Conservative

Age: 34

Occupation: Owner hardware/building materials store, former Newbury councillor.

Riding profile: Considered a bellwether riding, it’s overwhelmingly agricultural with not a single city. Strathroy in northeast and Wallaceburg in southwest are major urban centres. The riding is the size of Prince Edward Island and takes in portions of three counties – Lambton, Kent and Middlesex. Maria Van Bommel had held seat since ’03.

THE RESULTS

202 of 224 polls reporting

Maria Van Bommel LIB (Inc.)……….10558

Monte McNaughton PC…………… 15384

Joe Hill NDP…………………………………7625

Tom Jackson FP…………………………….. 133

James Armstrong GRN……………………859

Marinus Vander Vloet FCP………………335

Brad Harness REF……………………………191

Source:  By KELLY PEDRO, The London Free Press, www.lfpress.com 7 October 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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