By Kevin Werner, News Staff
The Hamilton Mountain provincial Progressive Conservative riding association has dipped into the city’s past in hopes of a brighter political future.
The Tories unanimously nominated Albert Marshall, who owns a string of 12 hearing clinics, to take on incumbent NDP MPP Monique Taylor, and Liberal candidate Javid Mirza. Mountain Tories hope Marshall will become the first Progressive Conservative Tory since Trevor Pettit won in 1995.
“Hamilton’s best days are still ahead of it,” said Marshall, who accepted the nomination April 23 at Calvin Christian School.
Marshall, 48, is a former lawyer turned businessman, who approached the riding association seeking the nomination after former candidate Bryan Vanderkruk unexpectedly decided to drop out earlier his year.
“I approached (the association) quite frankly,” said Marshall who has three children. “I’ve been interested in politics a long time. My house is in order, so to speak. The children are getting a little older. It gives me some freedom.”
He is also he son of the late Ontario Superior Court of Justice Judge Thomas David Marshall who past away in 2009. The elder Marshall, who lived inHaldimandCounty, was recognized as a renaissance man. Not only was he a judge, but also a lawyer, and physician. David Marshall was also politically active, running for the Liberals.
Albert Marshall has followed in his father’s footsteps, attending various universities inCanada,Brazil,SwitzerlandandChina, becoming a pilot, and marathoner. He also experienced financial troubles, finding himself on employment insurance before getting firmly back on his feet with his hearing clinics called Hear Right Canada.
“He was a workaholic,” said Marshal lreferring to his father. “He was a driver. I aspire to that. He would be 100 per cent supportive (of his leap into politics). And he would be proud. He never believed in a free ride.”
Marshalldidn’t take long to take aim at his political rivals after his nomination while his family and long-time PCs in the audience, saying the NDP has stood by and watchedHamiltonlose “15,000 well-paying unionized jobs.”
The top issue forMarshallis jobs, followed by removing the Liberals from power after a decade of waste and government corruption. He also blamed the Liberal and NDP “coalition” for allowing hydro rates to skyrocket, forcing people to choose between paying the bills or feeding their families.
“The Liberals will say and do anything to get elected,” he said.
Speaking to the media afterwards,Marshall said he would stop the school closures by supporting a moratorium, while also keeping schools open and having other organizations use the school space. He would also change the provincial funding formula, which the Mountain Tory riding association has identified as the main cause for the closures. He didn’t say how he would change it, though.
“Let the parents have some say (in closing schools),” he said.
He was also unclear about supporting the Mid-Peninsula Highway, a key platform for Tory leader Tim Hudak. In a recent interview Hudak said he would build the highway from Fort Erie to Highway 6 at the Hamilton Airport. Hudak was equally blunt a Tory government wouldn’t fund a light-rail transit system.
Marshall says he has yet “to see a (transit) plan that makes sense. I don’t think the Liberals know what they are doing.”
The Liberal candidate Mirza, has already come out and rejected an LRT for the city. Instead, he wants funding for a bus rapid transit system, which is less costly, but would, according to studies, provide similar transit service for residents.
“Who will pay for (the system)?” saysMarshall.
If elected MPP Marshall says he will consider relocating from his home in Haldimand which is south of the riding, to the mountain riding. But Marshall argued he is as Hamiltonian as they come.
He went to Hillfield-Strathallan, and McMaster University. And his business is located on Upper James.
“What makes a son or daughter ofHamilton? Is it someone who lives here and goes each day to work inToronto? Or somebody basically has gone to school here, and comes here to work? I’m all over this place. I have a business here. I’m here all the time.”
Rob Cooper, president of the provincial riding association, said they were looking for a true Hamiltonian, and they believe they’ve got one.
“He has gone to school here, he has got some vested interests inHamilton,” said Cooper. “(In) our definition this is someone who is a Hamiltonian.”