OTTAWA — An Ontario Tory who has long been a champion of reforming the parliamentary system is running for leadership of the federal Conservatives.
Michael Chong becomes the third person to officially join the race which will culminate in a vote in just over a year’s time.
Chong was first elected in 2004 in a southern Ontario riding and went on to serve in former prime minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet as intergovernmental affairs minister.
But he resigned from that position in 2006 because he didn’t support a motion recognizing Quebecers as a nation, calling it ethnic nationalism.
He took a seat in the backbenches; and from there, spearheaded legislation to give individual MPs more power.
A bill to that effect became law last fall.
Kellie Leitch and Maxime Bernier are the other two candidates currently in the race but several others are considering putting their names forward as well.
From the archives: Michael Chong on being a good MP
“Being a good constituency MP involves two things. The first is that you’ve got to help constituents out with access and government services, with listening to their concerns, with being in touch with them and having a sense of what’s going on on the ground … with being local, with understanding local issues — even if they’re not necessarily federal issues. The second thing a good constituency MP does is that in each and every decision they take up here on Parliament Hill, that they’re always thinking about what the voters back home would think and what they would want you to do.”