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Walker walks away with it  

Walker said the "biggest" issue he heard while campaigning was concern over the Liberal's Green Energy Act. He said he will voice those concerns, even though he is not in government, and try to "find a way" to slow wind farm developments "down a bit."

Credit:  By DENIS LANGLOIS, SUN TIMES STAFF, www.owensoundsuntimes.com 7 October 2011 ~~

Voters have decided to send another Bill to Queen’s Park.

Bill Walker, the first-time Progressive Conservative candidate for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, was elected Thursday night and will replace long-time PC MPP Bill Murdoch in the Ontario Legislature.

“I’m really elated and happy the people of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound have put their faith in me,” the 45-year-old Bruce Power manager said in an interview at about 9:40 p.m., after it became clear he would win the riding.

About 100 people, many wearing blue Team Walker hats and shirts, crammed into Walker’s campaign office on Owen Sound’s west side. They erupted into cheers several times as the results were broadcast on television sets and written on a large wall, covered in white paper.

Walker will serve his rookie term as a member of the official opposition, after Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals earned a third consecutive win – this time a minority victory – in Ontario.

Walker said it is important for MPPs in Queen’s Park to work together, as “we’re here for all the people of Ontario.”

Walker said the “biggest” issue he heard while campaigning was concern over the Liberal’s Green Energy Act. He said he will voice those concerns, even though he is not in government, and try to “find a way” to slow wind farm developments “down a bit.”

“We don’t need the power.”

Walker said during his first 100 days in office, he plans to meet with several “stakeholders” – such as agricultural groups, industry representatives and municipalities – to discuss priorities.

He said he will work to strike a “balance” between working in the riding and representing the area in the Ontario legislature.

Walker campaigned on PC party pledges to slap a moratorium on wind turbine developments pending the results of an independent health study, cut personal and business taxes, remove the HST and debt retirement charge from residential hydro bills, extend provincial gas tax revenue payments to all Ontario municipalities and balance the provincial budget by 2017- 18.

He made his own promises to fight against the pending closure of the Owen Sound jail, table a bill to make “criminals” pay an extra surcharge to help municipalities like Owen Sound cover court security costs and work to get a new hospital built in Markdale.

He also vowed to stand up for better health care and education in the province.

Much of his campaign focused on criticizing the McGuinty Liberal government, which he said has lost touch with rural Ontario, nearly doubled the provincial debt over eight years and imposed a health tax, HST and eco tax when they promised not to add new taxes.

Walker, who was born and raised in Hepworth and now lives just outside of the Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound riding in Saugeen Shores, said he is “extremely pleased” with his campaign. He said he had a “dedicated team” that helped him knock on “thousands” of doors in the riding from Tobermory in the north to Dundalk in the south.

The married father of two said people he met on doorsteps throughout the riding were mostly concerned about the high cost of energy, wind turbine developments and the economy, including the provincial deficit, jobs and taxes.

“A lot of people are saying it’s tough out there,” he said Thursday afternoon, before the polls closed.

With all 261 polls reporting, Walker garnered 19,510 votes or 47.3% of votes cast, while Liberal candidate Kevin Eccles earned 10,882 votes or 26.4%. NDP candidate Paul Johnstone received 6,124 votes or 14.8% to finish in third place, while Green Party candidate Don Marshall garnered 2,653 votes or 6.4%, Independent candidate Shane Jolley received 1,508 votes or 3.7%, Family Coalition Party candidate Joel Kidd received 345 votes or 0.8% and Libertarian candidate Jay Miller received 246 votes or 0.6%.

Source:  By DENIS LANGLOIS, SUN TIMES STAFF, www.owensoundsuntimes.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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