Kellie Leitch’s constituents turn against her

A ‘Not my MP’ movement is gaining steam in Leitch’s rural riding of Simcoe-Grey, north of Toronto

Mark Ruzylo holds a #NotMyMP sign in a neighbours home. (Photograph by Nick Iwanyshyn)

Mark Ruzylo holds a #NotMyMP sign in a neighbours home. (Photograph by Nick Iwanyshyn)

In the village of Lavender, Ont., Mark Ruzylo drives up to a house in darkness, knocks and lets himself in. He hands his friend a wafer-like sign and a wire frame and collects $10. Nighttime delivery work is not Ruzylo’s normal routine; he is a high school vice principal with three children to tuck into bed. The distribution is not easy, as the roads are dirt and homes, highways apart. But on Monday, Ruzylo sets out on this mission because Kellie Leitch, he believes, is not his MP.

Ruzylo is kindling a campaign that promises to gain national attention in coming weeks. He has created and distributed 60 lawn signs in Leitch’s riding of Simcoe–Grey, a district north of Toronto that includes Collingwood and surrounding towns and villages, peaked by the Blue Mountains. This week, Ruzylo will distribute another 200 signs, some of which could show up peacefully on the sidelines of a local Santa Claus parade on Saturday, and his neighbours have also taken to Twitter using #NotMyMp. Based on the American slogan “Not my president,” the campaign is a way for constituents to distance themselves from Leitch’s rhetoric—most controversially, her call to screen immigrants for “anti-Canadian values.”

RELATED: How Kellie Leitch touched off a culture war

“I woke up after the election and saw Leitch celebrating Trump’s win,” says Ruzylo. “I thought, ‘We gotta do something.’ ” He came up with the sign idea during a conversation at his men’s book club and quickly hired a graphic designer. The movement doesn’t support any particular political party, and the people who have ordered them include a psychotherapist, organic beet farmer and chemist-turned-doula. “It’s the loaded and loose language,” says Jamie Korthals, a carpenter buying a sign in Lavender. “It’s so vague.” Carl Dalton, a social worker, puts up a sign in the neighbouring town of Creemore. “She can say what she wants about the CBC,” Dalton says of Leitch, “but this [talk of values] intentionally harbours hatred.”

The people of Simcoe–Grey, meanwhile, harbour only dogs and dinner guests, inviting Ruzylo into houses so warm that they seem insulated by giant tea cozies. The 120,000 people in the region are largely working-class people who work in retail, manufacturing, or farming, along with middle- and upper-class professionals who work part of the week in Toronto. (At Ruzylo’s hockey games, locker-room topics range from architecture to garlic.) The demographic of Simcoe–Grey is almost entirely white, with temporary foreign workers arriving from Mexico and Jamaica in the summers. Brent Preston and his wife, Gillian Flies, hire seven Mexican workers and say the men have become part of the community. “We’ll see photos on Facebook of them in a hot tub in Collingwood,” says Flies. “They have more of a social life than us.”

MORE: Why a values test won’t fly in Canada

Leitch is seen by critics as a temporary resident herself, an MP who spends less time in the region than outside of it. From Fort McMurray, Alta., she was parachuted into Simcoe–Grey to win the riding in 2011 under Stephen Harper. Her residence near Creemore features a long driveway leading to a white house, which on a Monday night in November is entirely dark. “Her house is an empty, sterile shell,” says Preston, who has attended one of Leitch’s public breakfast meetings. “It’s a beautiful house on a beautiful property, and there’s no life in it at all.”

Nevertheless, Leitch has supporters—and they might be stealing lawn signs. Carl Dalton says his previous sign, which he erected on Friday, disappeared when he went out to dinner. He bought a replacement sign and worries about another theft. “If it gets ridiculous, I’ll take some initiative to protect it,” he says. Some constituents worry that their neighbours see the signs as an attack on the Conservative party (the riding has voted Conservative since 2004). Ruzylo’s father-in-law, Tony Fry, who ordered six signs for himself and friends, expects the slogan could prevent neighbours from donating to his youth group. However, he says, “I [don’t] care because we gotta do something about Kellie.”

The signs face one other threat: snow. Simcoe-Grey is already seeing its first snowbanks of the season, and the signs are not sturdy. “I’ve thought about that a lot,” says Ruzylo. The solution: “We’ll put them in our windows.”


Kellie Leitch’s constituents turn against her

  1. This will be a death knell for the conservatives if they don’t get this values thing under control, that goes for Ontario too. The other big elephant in the room will be, if the Grits legalize pot for recreational use before the next election, will the conservatives continue with legalization of recreational pot, or will they shut it down if elected in the next election, because if Trudeau legalizes pot, and the conservatives want to shut it down if elected, it will be good bye Charlie Brown for the Conservatives. What will both NDP and Conservative do with legalization of pot for recreational use if elected in the next election cycle?

    • Miss Leitch, we are a country of inclusiveness, a country of rights, and to turn back the clock on that progress now would be tantamount to going back to the days of draconian laws. Nice to hear your constituents are not listening to you traffic this ‘Smut’ throughout our country.

    • Ms Leitch will have a hard time winning the Conservative party leadership but “NotMyMp”? This the only riding in Ontario to vote for the Reform party. How did an article get written about a minority so small as to be insignificant? To bad the author did not take the time to interview a few of the hard working libertarian citizens of Simcoe-Grey. (On second thought, even if she was interested in a contrary opinion, they would have never told her how they really felt.) This article is misleading to suggest Simcoe-Grey is leaning left.

  2. Cons are big on ‘protecting our values’ but don’t seem to know what they ae.

    • The funny thing about all this browbeating she is getting from the public, it creates an ‘Underdog Effect’, just the narrative she could survive on come the final leadership run, and all you have to do is look at the day Trump and his wife glided down the elevator in Trump Plaza, the American MSM anointed him an Underdog, they lampooned the shit out him. Everyone said Trump would loose, they said it about Trudeau too. I hope she does win, and anyone progressive should hope too, because as long as she reigns, the longer the cons will be sitting in opposition.

      • You might have a valid point!

  3. Over the years “politicians and other opinion leaders have engaged in a type of “bias arbitrage,” gaining by exploiting the biased beliefs of the public,”
    Aviram Amitai, Bias Arbitrage. Illinois Public Law Research Paper No. 06-12; Illinois Law & Economics Research Paper No. LE07-17; Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 64, 2007. Available at SSRN :

  4. Over the years “politicians and other opinion leaders have engaged in a type of “bias arbitrage,” gaining by exploiting these biased beliefs of the public,”
    Aviram Amitai, Bias Arbitrage. Illinois Public Law Research Paper No. 06-12; Illinois Law & Economics Research Paper No. LE07-17; Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 64, 2007. Available at SSRN :

    • Helena Gurergis……..too funny…….I love her Miss Huronia video on U tube, you know, the one where she laughs about raffling of nonexistent bicycles and such

  5. Over the years “politicians and other opinion leaders have engaged in a type of “bias arbitrage,” gaining by exploiting these biased beliefs of the public,”
    Aviram Amitai, Bias Arbitrage. Illinois Public Law Research Paper No. 06-12; Illinois Law & Economics Research Paper No. LE07-17; Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 64, 2007. Available at SSRN :

  6. This is a crock. More people support what Ms Leitch stands for than those who do not. Typical leftist drivel. I will give you an article if you like, Mc Cleans.

    • We tossed Harp for similar views.

          • Please speak only when spoken to.

    • Kellie Trump loves the poorly educated. (BTW, it’s “Maclean’s”…

  7. Wouldn’t it be ironic if Kellie Leitch won Conservative leadership & lost her seat in next election :-)

  8. Oops! Kellie Leitch has suddently discovered her constituants are, ahem, smarter than she thinks.
    This elite doctor now sees that people are not bitting into her bait and her dog-whistle tactics!
    Well, Kellie, you might be a highly-educated member of the elite, but that doesn’t necessarily means that your smart.

    • You’re smart!

      • “that doesn’t necessarily” … mean …

  9. Great to see Kelly Leith being taken on in her own riding. The approach she is taking to politics is divisive, cynical and corrosive. The Canadian people will not be well served by this brand of politics no matter where they fall on the political spectrum. It is great to see that attempts are being made to root out this poisonous approach to politics at the local level.

  10. “… neighbours have also taken to Twitter using #NotMyMp. Based on the anti-Trump slogan, “Not My President,”

    Mmm, then what happened to Mr. Trump?

    • Lets see, he mocked the disabled, bragged of grabbing Pu$$y and was lauded by the KKK for his win. Yep, sounds like values we need here… SMH

      • I asked, “What happened TO HIM”.

        • That remains to be seen. My bet is that he is impeached by his own people or resigns within two years.
          He is not presidential material- and his own party has only reluctantly acknowledged him.
          On the other hand, Pence is a scary person.
          Sad for the USA.

  11. What the article doesn’t say is whether any of these people supported Leitch or the Conservatives in the first place

  12. Headline’s a lie i.e. Some Constituents, but that won’t bother McLeans, anyone in the media with an agendad or the progressives. Meantime more publicity for Leitch’s policies. Sure helps the fund raising.

  13. Clearly there needs to be a split in the Conservative Party. The social conservative radicals AKA Reform Party and those who believe in fiscal conservatism but are more socially progressive should separate. In addition, staking your platform on the Trump victory seems a bit premature as we have not seen any results yet from his government. We live in a highly, urbanized, fairly well educated, affluent country with people who have origins from all over the world. Many of us have grown up with people who either immigrated here, have different cultures than our own and or different belief systems and or such individuals ourselves. And it works for most of us, so the idea that we could have one values set for all of us is absurd. This is not a monoculture, and even when white Canada has its schism in the 60s when many people rebelled against old fashioned values and Christianity. And we are not going back.

  14. Great to see Kelly Leith’s constituents speaking out against her cynical and divisive approach to politics. What does she stand for? What are Canadian values? Is she referring to values such as the importance of hard work, honesty, integrity, respect for each other as individuals? Is she referring to separation of church and state and all this principle implies? We can have these types of conversations without trying to drive wedges between people as I fear Ms. Leitch is trying to do.

    • I am amused by Leitch’s derogatory dismissal of the ‘elite”- since they are her own people.
      We remember her dogged devotion to Flaherty- wonder what he would think of her new found populist tilt?
      I hope that the Trump phenomenon does not happen here- cannot believe that it would.
      Thank you for standing up to this nonsense, people of her riding.

  15. Let’s all remember that this CPC party is NOT a “real” Canidian Conservative party – it’s a mish-mash of reformers, the dregs of the old Conservative party and Harper and his ilk – extreme right evangelical reformers who push faith-based politics, and white supremacists – that’s right, skinheads. Canadian values? I don’t think so. Ms. Leitch is a staunch supporter of this sect, faction, or whatever you want to call it, but as a political party it sure as hell is NOT the Progressive Conservative party of old – Brian Mulroney and HIS ilk destroyed that political approach to Canadian governance, and we are left with this mess – corporatists, religious fanatics, and skinheads. Is there no conservative alternative that represents the traditional right’s point of view? Listening to the like of Leitch and goofs like Jason Kenny – maybe not . . . a shame for Canada’s right, as they’re just spinning their wheels . . .

    • The NDP is veering farther left, the Cons farther right, and the Libs are left to pick up anything in between. The whole system is broken as it’s being bastardized by special interest groups and corporate/lobby money. To hell with what Canadians are actually seeking in a government.

  16. The efforts of Leitch’s constituents in Simcoe-Grey to speak out against her racist beliefs is laudable. I wouldn’t want her as a neighbor, much less as the leader of Canada. Keep up the protest and can I have a lawn sign?

  17. Divisive? You don’t think that Trudeau’s pipeline, increasing the deficit to 30 billion, reopening the bidding on the Naval ships so Quebec can get a piece of the pie, removing the the audits to the aboriginal chief’s finances, attempting to force a new voting system down our throats without a referendum, saying Canadians mourn Castro’s passing divisive? This is the left wing press attacking a potential future prime minister before she ever gets started. If you scratch below the surface I am certain you would find constituents in Trudeau’s riding that are less than enamoured with him.

    • Umm … this not the “left wing press” attacking her … this is the press reporting on actions being taken in her constituency. You’re the one doing the attacking.

  18. How is Ms. Leitch going to assess “Canadian Values”?

    She can’t because if you ask the 30-million plus people in the country to describe “Canadian values” you will probably get 30-million plus different responses.

    Ms. Leitch is completely out to lunch on this one.

    • well Brain, how about we approach this from the other side. Is loading your first wife and daughters into a car and you and your son push the car into a locke in the Trent Severn waterway a Canadian value. Is female genital mutilation a Canadian value. Is murdering an Honour Guard at the National War Memorial a Canadian value. If these are Canadian values in your opinion, then you are messed up

      • A woman is killed in Canada every 6 days

        Canadian baby boys are circumcised

        Lone wolf killings are random nutbars

        • Huh. Acceptable?

      • So what is your argument? That Islam is the main value we want to screen for? Being psychotic? Let me preface this by saying I am an atheist and that all religions are literally faery tale worshipping cults. However, there are literally millions of peaceful Islamic people all of the world that are not dangerous and never will be. I have Saudi, Kuwaiti, French, Canadian, Turkish, Pakistani and Moroccan friend who are Islamic. None terorists. I also have Christian and Sikh friends. All fairly rational, moderate examples of religious people. We do not speak about religion. The Hui in China, Malaysia, Turkey, and many other modernized countries that practice Islam are very moderate examples. Most of the terror is in areas which have had socio-economic and political instability for far too long. Christian people under such circumstances would also have extreme factions. Already the US has an emergent population that is socio-economically marginalized and radicalizing. And Leitch like rhetoric is proof of such a thing in Canada. Yes, I hope one day all religion is gone, but the first step is moderation, which is only realized by increasing stability. The idea that Canadian values are white, Christian, xenophobic values is disgusting. We have an immigration process and a Supreme Court to uphold our rights. Leitch support is irrational and dangerous.

        • Thank you for being a voice of reason. Of course Leitch’s views are nonsensical- and so politically opportunistic.
          If we cannot get past a view of our neighbours as frightening because they go to a different church/mosque/temple and eat different foods, etc.; then we are not the people that our foreign born relatives, who came to this country s a haven for freedom, thought we would be .
          The whole politics of fear campaign is completely deplorable.

          • Completely.

            We have to recognize the common humanity among us. That our ideas are sometimes merely fantasies that ghettoize and separate us if wielded incorrectly. And I am not saying these carcinogenic ideas necessarily always are right wing/religious in origin. We need to be critical of all ideas if they are based in irrational, flawed or immoral logic.

          • Remember; Multiculturalism is hypothetical.

      • Stop cherry-picking a few isolated instances as being representative of the thousands of muslims in the country. Bigotry is not a Canadian value.

  19. I live in her riding and support her through taxes and donation. This is a tempest in a teapot, or more precisely a tempest in Creemore. A progressive little village where the newcomers have managed to push the locals out through a process of gentrification. Kellie Leitch is well supported in this riding, by working people, not by talking heads like the Creemorians

    • So you ‘old timers: really believe in her campaign of fear and loathing of the ‘other”?
      Remind me never to visit Creemore.
      I believe I bought some beer from there recently, guess I should rethink my purchasing!

  20. 73% of the US population is white, and Trump knew this. There is absolutely nothing
    more that gets the whiteman in an uproar (lighting their hair on fire), than racial issues
    & hatred. Trump, the sly fox, shamelessly took advantage of this to win the election.

    • However, he did not get the popular vote. There will be a backlash- and it does not bode well for politics in the USA.