Guelph's Conservatives hope you will, because this man, Marty Burke, has been acclaimed as their candidate in the next Federal election scheduled to happen between anytime after the minute you read this sentence.
Mr. Burke is a 49-year-old Air Canada pilot, married for 20 years to his wife Trish who together have three children aged 9, 17, and 19. Additionally, Burke was a 23 year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, a pretty important ace card as the Harper government faces ongoing criticism about action in Afghanistan. “There’s a certain amount of pride in your country that goes with being in the military,” John White, president of the Conservative Party riding association, told the Guelph Mercury yesterday.
A riding association press release said that Burke had expressed that he looked forward to being part of a party that offered Canadians economic recovery, environmental protection and ethical leadership. Of the candidate himself White said that “He’s energetic [...] He’s well-spoken and he’s in touch with several of the communities within Guelph.”
The question is this though: is he more in touch with Guelph than Liberal incumbent Frank Valeriote, who's well-liked, been involved in several community groups, boards and committees. And perhaps more importantly, Valeriote has the life-long Guelphite label working for him; Burke meanwhile moved to Guelph in 2000.
Burke does seem like an affable fellow, but the question is: will he be able to colour the last bit of Liberal red Conservative blue on the map of southwestern Ontario? The last two local Conservative candidates, Brent Barr and Gloria Kovach, were two people with a lot of crossover potential to reach non-Conservatives and independents. However, the core problem remains the same, I think: the man at the top. The people left to reach aren't fond of Stephen Harper and his policies, and the new face for Royal City Conservatives might not be able to change that.
Time will tell.