By Collin Gallant on October 21, 2016.
Glen Motz is a man who won’t forget his riding, said interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose at a rally in Medicine Hat on Thursday, who then hammered away at the federal Liberal party saying they only have a feigning interest in the riding.
Ambrose is the second national party leader to visit the city in the last week.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau headlined a campaign event last week and conservative officials again said Thursday they consider that visit to be a “pep rally” that lacked substance.
“(Trudeau) showed up in what I think is one of the worst economic times Alberta has faced and he goes back bent on bringing in a carbon tax,” Ambrose told hundreds of Conservative supporters at Motz’s Dunmore Road office.
As for Trudeau’s vow to give local Liberal candidate Stan Sakamoto a voice in government, she said four Liberals elected in Alberta last October’s general election â€” including two Cabinet ministers â€” are ineffectual.
“They don’t listen to Alberta and they don’t fight for Alberta,” she said.
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It was important for Conservatives to stand together and send a message, she said.
Voters will vote in a bylection Oct. 24 to fill the vacancy in Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner left by the death of MP Jim Hillyer last spring.
Ambrose’s visit comes about one week after Trudeau visited Medicine Hat for a 2,000-person event on Oct. 13, then the Blood Reserve in the west of the riding the following day.
Tory campaign manager Dan Hein said the Conservative campaign was “rising on all fronts,” including volunteers, donations and pledges of support.
Motz became visibly emotional during his speech Thursday, telling supporters “if I get to Ottawa it’s because of you.”
The retired police inspector added that the race was not about him but rather “it’s about people who are at their end and need hope.”
He would work hard “so that people in our province can be proud of our country again.”
Motz told the crowd that “unlike the pep rally last week,” Ambrose would mix and meet attendees. She shook hands and visited with groups for more than an hour prior to private meetings in the afternoon.
The event brought a number of longtime party supporters as well as local politicians.
Mayor Ted Clugston, who raised eyebrows in the traditionally Conservative riding by appearing at the Sakamoto rally, said he felt it is his duty to welcome high-profile visitors.
“First and foremost I have my mayor’s hat on and I’ll meet with any leader, any time,” said Clugston, who met briefly with Ambrose before the event.
At least three other city council members mixed in the crowd, joined by several senior administrators.
A host of former conservative politicians, such as Progressive Conservative MP Bob Porter and PC MLA Jim Horsman, were there as well.
LaVar Payne, who represented Medicine Hat in Ottawa prior to the last general election said he felt the address was “substantial.”
“Good speech by Rona and Glen, which touched on the important issues for the riding and Albertans in general,” he said.
Payne said he was in the overflow crowd at Trudeau’s event on Second Street last week and felt the size of the audiences was similar.
“I heard Stan say that we were the ‘forgotten corner’ but he failed to realize that (the federal government) brought $70 million into the riding while I was MP,” said Payne.
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