Canada’s former finance minister is returning to politics.
Ex-Conservative MP Joe Oliver, who was defeated in last year's federal election, is seeking an Ontario Progressive Conservative nomination for the 2018 provincial election.
Joe Oliver speaks at a press conference in Toronto on Sept. 30, 2015. (Photo: Nathan Denette/CP)
The news was broken Tuesday morning by The Toronto Star, but Oliver later took to Twitter to confirm he was going for it.
“We need change,” the 76-year-old wrote.
Oliver added that Ontario has suffered too long from the “incompetence” and scandals of Premier Kathleen Wynne and can “be prosperous (and) secure again” under PC Leader Patrick Brown.
Though Oliver represented the Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence federally from 2011 to 2015, he is seeking the provincial nomination in York Centre, currently represented by Liberal Monte Kwinter.
At 85, Kwinter is the oldest serving MPP in Ontario history.
Oliver told The Star that he hopes to use his experience in finance to help Ontario Tories “in the election and later in the government.” Oliver also served as natural resources minister before becoming former prime minister Stephen Harper’s right hand in 2014.
Still not 'feeding the pigeons'
Oliver hinted that he wasn’t done with public life after his loss last year to Liberal Marco Mendicino.
"I have a fair amount of private and public experience. I have a lot of energy still and we'll see where it goes," he told CBC News at the time.
"I don't intend to be feeding the pigeons."
He was a vocal critic of the Wynne government during the 2014 provincial election, calling the Liberal provincial budget the “route to economic decline.”
He also took to the pages of the Financial Post in July to call Wynne’s cap-and-trade climate plan a “cash grab cloaked in green garb.”
Ontarians, he wrote, should “brace themselves for more changes to extort more money for the government to dispense on its pet projects or other priorities, like paying interest on its ballooning debt.”
Brown has said he believes in putting a price on carbon to help fight climate change.
Other ex-MPs going provincial
Oliver is not the first defeated Tory MP to express interest in helping Brown — who represented a Barrie riding federally from 2006 to 2015 — win government in 2018.
Paul Calandra, a former parliamentary secretary to the prime minister, is seeking a PC nomination in Markham-Stouffville, while Bob Dechert is hoping to carry the party banner in Mississauga Erin-Mills.
Former St. Catharines MP Rick Dykstra lost a nomination battle last weekend to run for the Ontario Tories in a Niagara West-Glanbrook byelection next month. Dykstra, a close Brown confidant who serves as PC party president, was bested by a 19-year-old student.
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