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Jackson given PC nod

Bob Bruton

By Bob Bruton, Barrie Examiner

Rod Jackson overcame October's defeat to find victory in December.

Jackson will be Barrie's Progressive Conservative candidate in next fall's provincial election, after outdistancing Alex Nuttall, Greer He m i s t o n -Campbell and Wayne McCallum in Friday's nominat i o n meeting.

"I, for one of the first times in my political life, am speechless," he said after the result was announced. "What we need in Barrie is a strong representative in Queen's Park."

Jackson didn't let losing his city council seat in the October city election, after just one term on council, get in his way before a packed crowd at the Army Navy & Air Force Club.

He said he's ready for the Oct. 6, 2011 Ontario election.

"I will win this riding," Jackson said. "You know who I want to beat, the Liberals. If that means (current Barrie MPP) Aileen Carroll, so be it."

Nuttall, who had called him-s elf the front-runner in the Tory nomination race, said he would help Jackson win.

"We have to stick together now," said Nuttall, Barrie's Ward 10 councillor.

"The in-fighting is over. We have to stand behind Rod."

Nuttall was accused by some members of his own party of irregularities in recruiting new members for Friday's nomination meeting.

He denied the allegations.

But this situation led, in part, to the resignation of Fred Hamelink as president of Barrie's PC riding association just five days before the nomination meeting.

He r m i s t o n -C a m p b e l l alluded to this divisiveness.

"His (Hamelink's) resignation as president of the riding association sends a very clear signal that things are not right," she said.

Jackson campaigned for the PC candidacy in Barrie with a platform to improve local health care, make the street safer and attract higher-paying jobs to Barrie -- all familiar topics for the former city councillor.

His victory also means there will be no byelection in Ward 10, which would have been the case if Nuttall had won the Tory candidacy and won the Barrie riding -- which usually votes Tory -- in October.

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