Launches bid for Conservative nomination
WINCHESTER – With his municipal political career barely in the rear-view, Eric Duncan is looking to swiftly turn the page.
And this time, his sight is set on a much loftier goal.
Fresh off longtime Stormont, Dundas, and South Glengarry MP Guy Lauzon’s retirement announcement late last month, Duncan made a declaration of his own.
“It’s been a childhood dream of mine since I can remember to have the opportunity to serve my community in the House of Commons and be a member of parliament,” Duncan told the Winchester Press Fri., Feb. 1. “Some people want to be a doctor, some people want to be a truck driver, but I’ve always had this dream and an ambition for it.”
The former North Dundas mayor’s reveal to this newspaper came after he made the round with media throughout the riding, and pushed out the news to his many followers on social media.
Of the timing, Duncan insists it wasn’t concocted, but rather a near perfect lining up of circumstances.
“It’s always been in the back of my mind,” he said.
Lauzon tipped off Duncan during the holiday season in 2018 that his mind was largely made up, and he’d be forgoing another election campaign. This followed a decision nearly two years in the making, when Duncan announced he wouldn’t be seeking re-election to township council and instead encouraged current Mayor Tony Fraser to throw his hat in the ring.
“When the [municipal] door closed, and I knew it was coming, and I knew that one day Guy was going to retire, then I would consider making a run,” he said.
“I don’t think that would surprise anyone that has known me. The timing is good for me, as one door closes another one has opened.”
With the ability to forgo a municipal re-election bid, Duncan instead focused on the final weeks of his being mayor, and then enjoyed some travel with family and helped out with the family business, South Mountain’s JED Express.
Now though, it is all about the federal election upcoming this fall. Already Duncan has been putting on the kilometres, making stops throughout SD&SG and racking up endorsements, including those from municipal colleagues and lower-tier politicians, and major backing from current MPP Jim McDonell.
“It was good to recharge, and I’m ready for the next chapter,” he said. “Now that the door is open, I think the timing is right and I’m looking for a new challenge. It lines up nicely, and I’m not going to complain.”
So, why the Conservative Party, which some may view as not fitting into the ideals that Duncan long preached from his seat on municipal council?
“The Conservatives are a big, broad tent and when Conservatives form government, they win when there is a big tent,” Duncan said. “I say to people, I’m not a flamethrower or someone who is going to go out and be divisive and attacking at all times. That’s not my style, and that’s not going to change.”
He instead takes a line from neighbouring MP Pierre Poilievre, who serves the riding of Carleton: “Money is better spent by people who earn it than by people who collect it.”
“I love that saying and it has stuck with me for a while. I consider myself to be fiscally conservative. We need to be more efficient with spending, and thinking outside the box with new ideas – that’s the Conservative way,” Duncan said. “[Party leader] Andrew Scheer has made it very clear he wants a big tent. I fall definitely in line with lower taxes and efficient spending, stopping endless deficits, and promoting equality, freedom, and a strong, proper immigration system. Those are things I match up with ideally.”