Abbotsford MP Ed Fast says he backs Jean Charest’s run for Conservative party leader.
He made the endorsement on March 17 on his Facebook page, but it didn’t sit well with many of his followers.
“I have concluded that what Canada needs right now, during what has become one of the most difficult chapters in the history of our nation, is a mature and experienced leader – a thoughtful Canadian who will unite our party and our country,” Fast wrote. “I believe we need to rebuild the bridges between people and communities that our current prime minister has badly damaged over the past six years. And I believe that leader is Jean Charest.”
This is Charest’s first foray back into federal politics in more than 20 years, after spending time in provincial politics as Quebec’s Liberal premier. He was first elected as an MP in 1984 with the Progressive Conservatives. He led the Conservatives from 1993 until 1998. He served as Quebec’s premier until 2012.
Fast’s post explains his feelings about other candidates, including Patrick Brown, Pierre Poilievre, Scot Aitchison and Leslyn Lewis, acknowledging that “most of the other declared candidates are or have been MP colleagues of mine.”
Fast has not yet met Roman Baber and Joseph Bourgault. He called Lewis an “outspoken and articulate spokesperson on social issues that matter to millions of Canadians.”
He added that leadership races involve a difficult choice, with candidates bringing different temperaments, skill sets, experiences and visions for Canada.
And he asked his Conservative supporters to be respectful without using personal attacks or mean-spirited discourse, while encouraging “robust debate.”
“Those engaging in disrespectful conduct are not welcome.”
Most of those who have commented on Fast’s endorsement post are not happy with his chosen candidate.
“Extremely disappointed Mr. Fast,” wrote Daryla Hanna. “We want Pierre, and nobody else. Charest is a has been Liberal and he’s too old to change sides.”
Conservatives will learn who their new leader is Sept. 10, and candidates have until April 19 to declare they’re running and June 3 to submit new membership applications.
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