Not any more

Tory riding announcement to slam door on Guergis return

In Canada on September 17, 2010 at 14:39

Helena Guergis answers a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday April 1, 2010.

Friday, September 17, 2010 11:10 AM

Tory riding announcement to slam door on Guergis return

Daniel Leblanc

A wide array of Conservative supporters are gathering in the riding of Simcoe-Grey on Saturday in a bid to launch the political career of medical doctor Kellie Leitch – and bury any idea that Helena Guergis will ever be accepted back into her old political family.

Ms. Leitch is set to announce her intention to seek the Conservative nomination in the riding for the next election. The 40-year-old is an accomplished professional who is an orthopaedic surgeon at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and an associate professor at the University of Toronto.

Sources said Ms. Leitch will be introduced at a partisan barbecue of red Tories from the era of former premier Bill Davis, as well as more conservative supporters from the days of Mike Harris. It is expected that senior members of the Harper government will also be present, including Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

If she becomes the official Conservative candidate, Ms. Leitch will have to overcome a backlash from local party members who had hoped that Ms. Guergis, who has represented the riding since 2004, would be nominated.

Ms. Guergis has vowed to run as an independent if she is not allowed back into the Conservative fold, following a controversy that centred around the business dealings of her husband, former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer.

Ms. Guergis resigned as minister of state for the status of women earlier this year, and is seeking to revive her political career after being cleared of any wrongdoing by the RCMP.

Dr. Kellie Leitch reviews bone x-rays in this 2005 file photo.

In an interview a year ago, Dr. Leitch said her parents instilled in her the need for community service at a young age. Every evening at 6 p.m., she said she sat down for dinner with her parents and her two siblings in their Fort McMurray home, in northern Alberta, no matter what other activity was taking place.

There, they would talk about the need to work with the public. Her parents were both active in local community groups.

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