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Rookie, wind blow away ag minister

CLINTON – In sprawling Huron- Bruce, change is often in the wind at election time – as the riding has a history of switching party loyalties. And it was that wind, combined with the Liberal government’s controversial wind-energy push, that blew away Agriculture Minister Carol Mitchell.

The two-term Liberal MPP was unseated by rookie Progressive Conservative candidate Lisa Thompson.

Mitchell’s party headquarters at the Clinton branch of the Royal Canadian Legion was subdued, with few party faithful gathered.

Thompson, 46, repeatedly called for a moratorium on further wind-energy development.

She said it was a major issue in this election. “Wind-turbine development has jumped into a paramount position.”

She has called for a moratorium on further development.

“It has caused so many negative effects,” Thompson said.

The Liberal government’s push to build industrial wind turbines alienated many Southwestern Ontarians, especially in rural areas like Huron-Bruce. Not only did many voters resent living near the giant power projects, but they also decried the lack of local control over where the towers could be built.

Mitchell – in whose riding the giant Bruce Nuclear complex also stands – stood behind the government in promoting its alternative-power wind and solar projects.

She told voters there was no direct link between medical problems and wind turbines, but that went against the beliefs of many.

Thompson believes she was able to pull ahead because of her campaign workers.

“I had over 300 volunteers working for change. We were well organized.”

She said Huron-Bruce also had unique issues, including the government’s planned closing of the Walkerton jail and renovations in area hospitals.

Thompson has deep agricultural roots. She grew up on a Belgrave beef farm and was involved in 4H.

She was also a rural community adviser for Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food before becoming general manager of the Ontario Dairy Goat Cooperative.

Thompson was credited with growing the co-operative to a $13-million enterprise. While campaigning, she said she wanted to reclaim the rural voice for Huron-Bruce kathy.rumleski@sunmedia.ca

E-mail kathy.rumleski@sunmedia.ca, read Kathy’s blog, her column or follow KathyatLFPress on Twitter.

HURON-BRUCE

Lisa Thompson Conservative

Age: 46

Occupation: General manager of the Ontario Dairy Goat Co-operative, former rural community advisor.

Riding profile: There are no cities in far-flung riding, made up mostly of farming centres and small urban centres. One of region’s largest ridings, it’s the buckle on Ontario’s beef belt. Agriculture Minister Carol Mitchell gained support from area farmers during two terms as Liberal MPP. Goderich is riding’s largest centre.

THE RESULTS

228 of 234 polls reporting

Carol Mitchell LIB (Inc.)……………….13773

Lisa Thompson PC……………………17989

Grant Robertson NDP………………….. 8820

Patrick Main GRN………………………….. 744

Christine Schnurr FCP……………………637

Dennis Valenta IND………………………… 198