Rookie MP for Hastings-Lennox and Addington announces bid for Conservative leadership

Rookie MP for Hastings-Lennox and Addington Derek Sloan has announced he will be running in the leadership race for the Conservative Party of Canada.

Sloan was first elected to federal parliament in October 2019, and has no political experience prior to the election. Nevertheless, according to a news release sent out on Wednesday, he has been “actively involved in  the Conservative Party both as a student at Queen’s University and in the local riding.”

READ MORE: Conservative leadership race officially kicks off Monday now that the rules are set

The young MP, only 35 years old, was born in Waterford, Ont. He attended the Kingston, Ont., university and worked as a lawyer, a business-owner and entrepreneur prior to his time on the Hill. He now lives with his wife Jennifer, and their three young children — Nora, 3, Callum, 4 and Fiona, 6 — in Belleville’s countryside.

Derek Sloan and his wife Jennifer, and their three children: Nora, 3, Callum, 4 and Fiona, 6.Derek Sloan and his wife Jennifer, and their three children: Nora, 3, Callum, 4 and Fiona, 6. Derek Sloan

During the 2019 federal election, Sloan took the riding from Liberal incumbent Mike Bossio by more than 2,000 votes. Bossio himself served just one term, just barely eking a win and taking the riding away from long-time Conservative MP Darryl Kramp in 2015 (Kramp now serves as the Progressive Conservative MPP for the riding).

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In a news release, Sloan said he decided to run because he’s concerned the Conservative Party is not living up to its full potential.

READ MORE: ‘I’m in’: Peter MacKay announces he will run for the Conservative leadership

“I feel the party focuses strictly on economic issues, which are very valid, but we need to go above and beyond. We need to be the dominant political force in this country,” Sloan said in a statement.

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The newly minted MP believes the party should be focusing more on affordable housing and poverty, and should be pushing for Canada to have a “tougher” image on the international stage.

Andrew Scheer, who currently leads the party, announced in December that he would step down once the party picks a new leader in a vote scheduled for June 27.

Sloan will be running against at least one high-profile candidate, Peter MacKay, who announced last week over Twitter that he was in the race. He will also have to pay a non-refundable $200,000 entry fee, and get 3,000 party signatures by March 25 to be approved.

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He wants his party to be “Conservative in every traditional sense, including those that many candidates do not have a plan for.”

1:22Derek Sloan turns Hastings-Lennox & Addington back to a blue riding

Derek Sloan turns Hastings-Lennox & Addington back to a blue riding

In his short time as MP, Sloan has spoken in Parliament about the flooding issues in his riding, asking for a review of the International Joint Commission’s Plan 2014, which some in eastern Ontario blame for high water levels that hit the region in 2017 and 2019.

He also serves as deputy justice critic for the official opposition.

More to come.

— With files from Amanda Connolly, David Aikin, and The Canadian Press.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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