Niagara Regional Councillor Tony Quirk at Grimsby Town Hall on Friday, Feb. 24. BOB LOBLAW PHOTO
Youngest member of Ontario Legislative Assembly may also set record as among shortest-serving
BY DAVE BURKET
In a break with the unwritten rule that no one within the party challenges a sitting MPP, Grimsby’s Niagara Regional Councillor, Tony Quirk, has thrown down the gauntlet against the social-conservative teenager elected to Queen’s Park last autumn.
Quirk filed papers in late February to contest for the seat currently held by Sam Oosterhoff, the controversial far-right MPP elected at age 19 in last November’s by-election to fill the remainder of Tim Hudak’s term. A provincial election must be held by June 2018.
The window for nominations, however, closed last week. And the election to nominate the party’s candidate for the riding happens in just days, on March 7. (The riding boundaries have also changed, a long-planned redrawing of electoral districts, and still include Pelham.) Quirk is Oosterhoff’s only opponent.
This means that Oosterhoff could arrive at his constituency office in Beamsville on the morning of March 8 as a lame duck—serving the remainder of Hudak’s term, but not qualified to stand as the PC candidate in the 2018 election.
Quirk, 46, a Grimsby native and father of two, has long been involved in conservative politics in Grimsby and regionally. In an extended interview with the Voice, he describes his motivations, what he asserts are his strengths, and offers his take on current social and economic issues of importance to Niagara. The article will run in our next edition, hitting the streets March 1.
(A standing invitation from the Voice to MPP Oosterhoff for a in-depth interview, previously declined, remains in place.)
Updated Feb 26 to correct Quirk’s age: He is 46, not 47.