From mayor to Member of Provincial Parliament?
On Friday afternoon, the Ontario PC Party announced Collingwood Mayor Brian Saunderson as the PC MPP candidate for Simcoe-Grey for the 2022 provincial election.
“I look forward to working with the residents of Simcoe-Grey heading into the next election,” Saunderson told CollingwoodToday.ca.
The current mayor of Collingwood was appointed as the candidate due to a recommendation by Premier Doug Ford, rather than by a vote of the local party membership. Saunderson said the nomination committee unanimously supported Ford’s recommendation.
When asked if he would be stepping back from his mayoral duties to run his campaign, Saunderson said he would not.
“It is my intention to continue to work at town hall and serve the residents of Collingwood and Simcoe County until the election,” he said, adding that is the procedure under the Municipal Act. He is not required to resign as mayor unless he officially wins the seat.
When asked whether he has concerns about the workload of mayor while running a provincial campaign, Saunderson says he doesn’t.
“I’ve been continuing to work at town hall five days a week throughout the nomination process and I’ve been campaigning heavily during that time,” he said. “I have an exceptional team.”
When asked what would happen at the municipal level if he won the provincial seat, Saunderson said it’s early to be having those discussions.
“If the election is in June (of 2022), council would be lame duck by that point in time, and the municipal elections would be in full swing,” he said.
Saunderson moved to Collingwood in 2001 with his wife and three sons. He served as a board member for E3 Community Services for 12 years, and has volunteered with the Collingwood Dragon Boat and Canoe Club, which he helped found in 2003.
He served as deputy mayor of Collingwood from 2014-2018, and has served as mayor since 2018. He was a lawyer for 22 years before stepping down from his practice in January 2019.
Saunderson was also a member of the Canadian National Rowing Team and competed at two Olympic Games and three World Championships, winning a silver medal in 1990 as a member of the Men’s Eight.
“I know Brian will be a strong representative for the people in Simcoe-Grey given his current experience as the Mayor of Collingwood, a lawyer, community advocate and athlete,” said Premier Doug Ford, leader of the Ontario PC Party, in a news release. “I look forward to having Brian join our team for the next provincial election.”
The provincial election is slated for June 2, 2022.