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The Signal is live at the PC Party Convention

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The Signal is live at the 2017 PC Annual Convention at The Westin Nova Scotian.   Geordie Summers-Lubar

Join Signal reporters Geordie Summers-Lubar and Kieran Leavitt at the 2017 Progressive Conservative Annual Convention. Here we’ll post highlights from the day’s events. Stay tuned for breaking news and all the action.


All 14 candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada showed up for a debate on Saturday evening.

The federal Conservative leadership debate concentrated on jobs and growing the Conservative Party in Atlantic Canada. To accomplish this, many traditional conservative talking points were brought up — such as reducing taxes, supporting small businesses, and giving the provinces more powers.

Geordie Summers-Lubar has the full story here.

Nova Scotia native Lisa Raitt, MP of Milton, got some of the loudest applause of the night for her closing statements about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — saying he “is not one of us, he is not one of you, and he definitely doesn’t think you when he makes decisions.”

But the Liberal leader wasn’t the only one taking hits on Saturday. Some attacks were directed at fellow candidates, with newcomer TV personality Kevin O’Leary, taking the bulk of them. For example, he was accused of being a “reality star actor” by Deepak Obhrai.

Earlier this week, The Signal spoke to a political consultant who suggested that many of the candidates would likely gang up on Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary. O’Leary was more popular than other leadership candidates in a recent Ipsos poll.

MP Maxime Bernier of Beauce, Que., who many are calling one of the frontrunners of the contest, was also attacked for his proposals to increase health care privatization. The plan to “scrap the Canada Health Act” is “a losing strategy,” said MP Michael Chong of Wellington-Halton Hills, Ont.

All of the candidates will be looking for supporters from Atlantic Canada when the leadership election is held this May.


Jamie Baillie, leader of the provincial Progressive Conservative party, spoke at a Q and A during the annual general meeting on Saturday afternoon. He laid out his plans for how he will run Nova Scotia if he can manage to take down Stephen McNeil and the Liberals in the next election.

Baillie covered various topics including education, health care, pharmacare, jobs, and the budget.

Much of the discussion revolved around the Liberal government’s current contract dispute with the Nova Scotia Teachers Union. He said he plans on working with teachers and bringing back strict guidelines to class rooms including rigid expectations for attendance. He also said he would place  more responsibility on students and parents for classroom performance.

Jaimie Baillie taking questions from the public. Lots on schools, teachers, and how money will be available while balancing the budget. Jobs and seniors also asked about a lot.

A photo posted by The Signal Halifax (@signalhfx) on

Read Kieran Leavitt’s full recap of the discussion.


Rona Ambrose, interim leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, also spoke this weekend.

Ambrose criticized Atlantic Canada’s Liberal Members of Parliament as she addressed the crowd at the Nova Scotia PC annual general meeting. She called all of Atlantic Canada’s MPs “yesmen” and said that the federal Liberals are “taking Atlantic Canada for granted.”

As leader of the opposition, she has visited Atlantic Canada seven times as part of efforts to grow support for the Conservative Party in the region. She said that “all the ingredients are in the kitchen” in Atlantic Canada, but the “cook in the kitchen doesn’t know what it’s doing.”


Ambrose also made a joke about the contest to take over her role leading the party: Nova Scotia is a nice change from the “shoving, squabbling, and backstabbing in Ottawa,” she said. “But don’t despair, the leadership campaign is almost over.”

Rona entertaining the crowd. She was introduced as “The best PM Canada will never have.”

A photo posted by The Signal Halifax (@signalhfx) on