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(Posted 7:30 a.m., May 17)
Former Liberal wins local Conservative nomination
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Newly selected Conservative nominee Royal Galipeau is congratulated by former Conservative candidate Walter Robinson following the Ottawa-Orléans nomination meeting Monday night. Fred Serwin/Photo

Area Conservatives are pinning their hopes in the next federal election on a man who until a month ago was a member of the Liberal Party.

Former Liberal Party supporter and campaign organizer Royal Galipeau easily beat out Joel Bernard, a former Conservative MLA from New Brunswick, in winning the Tory nomination in Ottawa-Orléans during a meeting attended by more than 350 party faithful.

During his nomination speech, Galipeau addressed his former Liberal allegiance and recent conversion by quoting Winston Churchill.

“It was Winston Churchill who once said, ‘Any man who is under 30 and is not a Liberal has no heart. Any man who is over 30 and is not a Conservative has no brain. I can assure you I am well over 30,” said Galipeau.

Besides working on the campaigns of Liberal MPP Phil McNeely and former Ottawa-Orléans MP Eugène Bellemare, Galipeau also served as an legislative assistant to Ottawa-Vanier MP Mauril Belanger prompting Saskatchewan MP Maurice Vellacott to question his sincerity in seeking the nomination during his introduction speech for Bernard.

“How can we believe he will not cross the floor back to the Liberals when the opportunity arises,” said Vellacott. “That would be my concern. Would he cross back to the Liberal Party.”

Vellacott also harped on the fact that Galipeau lived outside the riding and therefore could not vote during the meeting as opposed to Berrnard who could cast a ballot even though he is only renting.”

But the card carrying Conservatives in the crowd weren’t buying any of it. Instead, they bought into Galipeau’s message to trump the Liberal fear tactics employed in the last election with the power of hope.

The former Gloucester city councillor also couldn’t resist pointing out that until several weeks ago, Bernard resided in the Miramichi region of New Brunswick.

“My track record is here, My family is here. My community is here. That is why I am running here and not in Miramichi,” said Galipeau, who kept referring to his opponent as a “visitor”.

During his nomination speech Galipeau went to great lengths to explain why he had switched allegiances to the Conservative Party.

“The Liberal Party is no longer the main vehicle for national unity. Instead they have become the main stumbling block to national unity. They have become an object of ridicule in Quebec. It’s time to throw the rascals out,” Galipeau said to loud applause. "Together we can give Godbout the boot."

On the issue of strategy in the next election, Galipeau told the audience that they had to set aside their anger and instead focus on offering voters hope of a better way of doing things.

“We must get over our anger because fear will trump anger every time. Let’s focus instead on the hope we can offer people because hope will always trump fear,” Galipeau explained. “Hope for better health care. Hope for the reorientation of the justice system with a greater emphasis on preventing crime and more rights for victims. Hope for a Canada first defence policy.”

On the sensitive issues of same sex marriages and abortion, Galipeau didn’t mix any words in letting the audience know exactly where he stood.

“I support the ideal that marriage is between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others and with all my soul, I oppose the wholesale slaughter of the unborn,” said Galipeau.

After winning the nomination Galipeau was joined at the podium by Walter Robinson who lost the last election to Marc Godbout by 2,728 votes.

Promising to lend his support in anyway he could, Robinson said the riding was winnable provided that local Conservatives can combine hope with hard work.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

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