News Local

Wilson, Dunlop likely to take a pass

By Raymond Bowe, Barrie Examiner

Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson and Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop aren't leaning towards entering the Progressive Conservative party leadership race.

Both are veteran politicians and both have been asked by constituents whether they would go for the big prize, but both have their reasons for likely declining.

"I'm neither in nor out," said Wilson, who was first elected in 1990 and has held several high-profile portfolios, including health and environment. He's also a senior caucus member.

"I've often been encouraged to do it," said the Wasaga Beach resident. "But do you want to go a couple hundred thousand dollars in personal debt? Some of my colleagues are still not out of debt."

A leadership conference will be held May 22 at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto, where a leader's table will fetch $15,000 and a friend's table is $10,000.

Wilson said he'd rather focus on his riding, which includes Collingwood and Alliston.

Dunlop, whose riding includes Orillia and Midland, is in the same boat.

"The more I look at it, I don't think I will," said the Coldwater resident, adding he doesn't have the time to devote to the leadership race. "Being the leader is a 10-year commitment. And I just don't have the contacts across the province."

Dunlop was first elected in 1999, but his political career dates back to 1980 as a municipal councillor. His sights are set on a possible cabinet post, though, under the new leader.

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