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MP Kellie Leitch celebrated by supporters at farewell party

June 28, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Brock Weir

Outgoing Simcoe-Grey MP Dr. Kellie Leitch was celebrated by local supporters Saturday at a “retirement” party in Creemore.

Dr. Leitch, who has represented the area in the House of Commons for the past eight years, is retiring from politics, but not her career, planning to continue her work as a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.

Open to the public, the party attracted dozens of supporters to celebrate her accomplishments and take the opportunity to say thanks for her work in public life before she goes back into the health care sector.

“It has been such a tremendous honour to serve as the Member of Parliament for Simcoe-grey these past eight years,” she said in a statement. “Many people were asking me about a party, so I decided to host one before the summer officially starts, as we all know how busy everyone is in the summer in Simcoe-Grey.

“While I am officially retiring from the House of Commons, Creemore is my home and now I will be able to volunteer more in Simcoe-Grey. I think of this event more as a ‘thank you’ party for those that have supported me over the years, and I look forward to seeing everyone there.”

Dr. Leitch announced her retirement from public life last year, following a hotly contested race to lead the Federal Conservatives.

Her bid for party leadership was not without controversy, including her call for a “values test” tied to attaining Canadian Citizenship.

In her farewell speech to the House of Commons earlier this month, Dr. Leitch remained defiant.

“Politics is a rough sport. I realized that during the challenging 2015 campaign, and during my leadership campaign I learned that in spades. During the leadership campaign, I learned many things. I now have a better wardrobe and I wear makeup, and sadly, I also learned how much these material items matter. How we look is often as important as, if not more important than, our ideas or intellect, especially as women. I also learned that not all Canadians are tolerant.

“In Canada, as children we are encouraged to have new ideas, talk about those ideas and encourage debate. That is not at all what I experienced. What most Canadians saw during the campaign was people slandering me and my reputation. They saw me bullied continuously. I was subjected to the worst type of threats online. My home was broken into. My constituency office was compromised with hate banners illegally hung. My staff was intimidated. My Parliament Hill office even received long letters in which people outlined in graphic detail their plans to sadistically rape me.

“This was all fuelled by people who claimed they were champions of freedom of speech, champions of women and champions of a tolerant society. I can tell members that these people are anything but that. I acutely learned that when individuals are unwilling—or, more often, unable—to debate an issue in a tolerant and respectful way, they turn to bullying, intimidation or worse. I would not wish this treatment on anyone, even on those who subjected me to it.

“My campaign sparked debate on issues that Canadians wanted to talk about. I am proud to say that unlike some, I am not afraid to tackle the elephant in the room. For me, health care will be one of those topics as we go forward. We need an open and healthy debate in this country about our health care system. Today, politicians get to say when and where we get our care, but they are not accountable to deliver that care in a timely manner. Canadians are ready for a thoughtful discussion about the future of health care. As elected leaders, we need to be ready too.

“Canadians have always been the most successful in all fields when we embrace our responsibilities as well-educated and tolerant people who put forward bold ideas on important subjects. Canadians elected us in the House of Commons to be leaders. We are expected to speak about issues that matter. We are not supposed to be afraid of tackling the tougher issues, and we should be able to discuss issues like health care, climate change, abortion and immigration without name-calling, without bullying, without resorting to insults or character assassinations. If we are not prepared to tackle the tough issues in a respectful manner in this place, then who is?”


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