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(Posted 8:30 a.m., May 5)
Tory leader Tim Hudak kicks off election campaign in Navan

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak dropped by Eddie's restaurant in Navan on Saturday morning to pump up the local troops and get the Consevative election campaign off to an energetic start.

Conservative leader Tim Hudak stops to chat with some local residents at the Navan restaurant on Saturday. Hudak was in town to help kick off the campaign for local candidate Roxanne Villeneuve-Robertson (left) . Fred Sherwin Photo

The event was planned several weeks ago, far in advance of the Liberal budget and sudsequent election call, but the timimg couldn't have been any better for local Conservative candidate Roxanne Villeneuve-Robertson or her supporters.

"He was in Ottawa yesterday and his schedule just fell at the right time, at the right place to the kickoff our campaign," said Villeneuve-Roberson.

The Conservative leader was in high spirits as he made his way through the small restaurant, known as "the igloo" to local residents, shaking hands and having the odd picture taken with supporters.

Hudak addressed the crowd before leaving. In a rehearsal ot the speech we would likely give at other stops througtout the weekend, he first thanked the NDP for forcing the election and then addressed the importance of reducing unecessary spending on things like the Green Energy Act and the need to create new jobs to get Ontaro working again. He then focused his attendance on the local candidate.

"Roxanne Villeneuve-Robertson is one impressive woman, let me tell you. I need someone like Roxanne Villeneuve-Robertson, and to tell you the truth Glengarry-Prescott-Russell needs someone like Roxanne Villeneuve-Robertson." said Hudak, before taken his leave and walking across to J.T. Bradley's Country Convenience Store to meet some of the local residents.

If the goal of the visit was to fire up the troopes, it had its desired effect and no one was more fired up than Villeneuve-Robertson.

"Things are going fantastically. My campaign office is open. The phones are in. The signs are in. We're ready to go," she said in rapid succession.

Although this is Villeneuve-Robertson's first time running for public office, she's no stranger to politics. Her father is none other than Noble Villeneuve, the former MPP for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry from 1983 to 1999, who held two Cabinet positions in the Harris government.

Asked what she learned from watching her father for so many years, Villeneuve-Robertson didn't skip a beat.

"Hard work. And he always remained local. He made sure to look after his constituents first and that's my goal, to look after the people of G-P-R and to make sure Eastern Ontario is not forgotten," she said.

Villeneuve-Robertson is the former manager of the Glengarry Memorial Hospital Foundation and she recently raised over $2 million to help buy new equipment for the hospital and to help expand the emergency room.

She grew up on a beef farm and is fluently bilingual. She currently lives in Maxville with her husband and two kids. As for her platform, Villeneuve-Robertson plans to focus on keeping Alfred College open, eliminating programs like the Green Energy Act and creating local jobs by broadening skilled trades training.

"Number one is to keep our Kemptville and Alfred colleges open. That's a promise our party has made and we're going to keep it," said Villeneuve-Robertson.

"Number two, we have to redice the hydro rates. We're going to eliminate the Green Energy Act and put an end to the windmills and the solar panel program. And number three were going to focus on the skilled trades and the apprenticeship ratio. Our goal is to create one million jobs over the next eight years and we're going to really focus on the skilled trades."

The campaign will officially kick off on Wendesday, May 7 and voters will be heading to the polls five weeks later on June 12.

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

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