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Aitchison says “energetic” Conservatives ready to unite under new leader Poilievre

With the latest Conservative Party leadership race in the rearview mirror, Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Scott Aitchison is ready to move forward with a unified party.

Pierre Poilievre won on the first ballot with 68 percent of the vote, while Aitchison finished fifth with just over one percent of the vote. 

“In many ways, I’m glad that his victory was as decisive as it was,” Aitchison says. This past weekend’s election was the fourth for the party this decade, but only the second to not need multiple rounds of voting. “I think that’s important for our movement and our caucus.”

“This sends a clear message that we do need to come together and we will come together and we can be united as a caucus and as a movement,” adds Aitchison.

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Aitchison says unity was a “key theme” of his message, adding that “the most important step” will be for them to stand together.

“We had our first caucus meeting on Monday morning and it was electric,” Aitchison says. “Everyone is excited and everyone is coming together. It was a really positive, energetic atmosphere.”

When Aitchison launched his campaign in March at Huntsville’s Canvas Brewery, he was asked about having a lower national profile that the other candidates in the race. “My profile has certainly increased,” he says. “At the beginning of the campaign, it’s safe to say not many people outside of Parry Sound-Muskoka knew who I was and that’s definitely changed.”

Aitchison believes his message of “unity, calm and less vitriol” in politics has been heard and appreciated. “I think that people that were observing that race, things did tone down quite a bit through the course of the campaign,” he says. “There was a lot more respectful tone. I like to think that I had some impact on that.”

Since the election ended over the weekend, Aitchison says he has spoken with Poilievre. “He was effusive in his praise of some of the ideas that we were espousing,” Aitchison says. “We talked a little bit more about the next steps and what that looks like.”

That could include a position in Poilievre’s cabinet. Aitchison says they did talk about that, but no decisions what been made about what role he may play. “I’m happy to serve wherever it helps the team the most,” Aitchison says. 

Under the federal Conservative’s previous leader Erin O’Toole, Aitchison served as the Shadow Minister for Labour. 

Aitchison spoke to the newsroom from Huntsville. Federal politicians are set to meet in Ottawa Thursday for a special session to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II. The fall sitting of Parliament was due to start on Sept. 19 but has been pushed back to Sept. 20 because that is the day of the former Monarch’s funeral.

Now that the leadership race is over, Aitchison says he is prepared to continue fighting for his constituents in Parry Sound-Muskoka. He points to affordability and housing as two issues that he will be focused on.

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