Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MP Alex Ruff is supporting Erin O'Toole for the Federal Conservative leadership.
So far, O'Toole is running against ten other candidates for the leadership.
Other than O'Toole, Peter MacKay and Leslyn Lewis are officially registered in the race. Those who have declared they are running so far include Richard Décarie, Marilyn Gladu, Jim Karahalios, Clayton Knutzon, Rick Peterson, Aron Seal, Derek Sloan and Bobby Singh.
"I'm a big fan of Erin O'Toole. Erin is someone that I've had the honour of knowing since our military college days," says Ruff.
"I have a lot of faith and belief in Erin. I think he's a very principled leader that will keep our party unified which is always a challenge when we're a big tent party that believes in freedom of speech and freedom of expression."
"I think he's got the right experience," says Ruff who notes O'Toole hasn't been a 'career politician' and points out O'Toole's background in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a helicopter tactical navigator, "He's someone that spent 12 years serving our country and made that sacrifice. He spent ten years in the corporate world as a lawyer and then he's been an elected politician since 2012. He's served as the Minister of Veterans Affairs he's been critic for the last number of years for foreign affairs," says Ruff.
He's also confident O'Toole can win ridings in the GTA and some key suburban areas around urban centres, "Erin's successfully been doing that since he got elected in 2012," says Ruff, adding "He finished third in the leadership race as a relatively unknown guy back in 2017. He was the third place finisher behind Andrew Scheer and Maxime Bernier, and he was one of the last ones to get involved in the race."
Ruff adds, "I know there are lots of perceptions that Peter MacKay is the frontrunner but ultimately the media and social media doesn't determine who becomes the leader of the conservative party, it will be the membership of the party," says Ruff who likes O'Toole's campaign strategy, "I'm a big fan of the ground game and working hard and I think Erin's been working super hard to get there."
He adds, "Ultimately though, I think we've got some great options. I have nothing negative to say about the majority of the other candidates that are running for the leadership...I think we're going to select within our party, the next Prime Minister of Canada."