The former chief financial officer for the Progressive Conservative Party riding association in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte (BSOM) has instead joined the Trillium Party as its candidate in the upcoming provincial election.
Michael Tuck, a 42-year-old Anten Mills resident, was announced Thursday as the Trillium Party’s local candidate.
Tuck told BarrieToday on Thursday that the PC Party’s failure to listen to its local riding association in selecting a candidate was a big reason for his decision to leave camp.
Instead, the PCs chose to appoint a candidate.
Tuck said he had filed nomination papers in hopes of running for the PCs after Conservative MP Alex Nuttall announced last week he wouldn’t make the jump to provincial politics.
Following Nuttall’s morning announcement last Friday, Tuck went to party headquarters and filed his nomination papers.
However, the following day, the PCs appointed Orillia lawyer Doug Downey as its candidate in BSOM. Downey told Village Media last weekend that he was even “surprised” to be asked to run in the local riding.
That didn’t sit well with Tuck.
“He doesn’t live in the riding, he’s from Orillia, so I went back down and collected my $2,850 (application fee to run for the PCs as a candidate) -- I had to wait some time for them to give it back to me -- and I did some soul-searching,” Tuck said.
Last month, the PC Party also said it would not allow former party leader Patrick Brown to be its candidate in BSOM, even though he had been chosen by the local riding association.
“Everything I believe in is based on democracy, and it’s based on the membership having a vote,” Tuck said.
Tuck said he had spent the last four weeks selling PC Party memberships to friends, family and co-workers on the premise there would be an open nomination process.
“The PC Party decided they weren’t willing to provide that for us, even though all of these people had paid for it,” he added. “So, for me to stand behind a party that would do that… it’s nothing against Doug Downey, it’s just that this is something that I believe in.”
The Trillium Party of Ontario, which was founded in 2014, has several candidates for the upcoming election in place throughout the province, including Stacey Surkova in Barrie-Innisfil and David Loft in York-Simcoe.
Trillium describes itself as a social conservative party, whose ideology includes direct democracy and right-wing populism.
Tuck said the Trillium Party is more in line with his values.
“The Trillium Party provides its candidates with an opportunity to put their own spin and their own values and feelings forward,” he said. “They listen to (their candidates) and we’re going to create platforms together and include everybody, all shapes and sizes.
“That’s a big bonus for me, because they’re big on democracy,” Tuck added. “They’re big on being honest, up front and open. I really like that about them.”
Tuck said he had his eye on Trillium for some time.
“To be honest with you, they’ve been on our radar for quite a while, because they’re doing a lot of things the right way,” he said.
“The Trillium Party, like myself, stands strongly for freedom, democracy and family, and I strongly believe there is no better time than now to restore faith in these values.”
The provincial election is set for June 7.