Chet Greason, email@example.com
Perth-Wellington's federal Conservative riding association has chosen 30-year-old John Nater as its candidate for the 2015 election.
Nader, a longtime Conservative Party affiliate and councillor for the municipality of West Perth, handily defeated his rival Ken Steven at an election meeting on Saturday, Nov. 8 at Listowel District Secondary School.
From the get-go, Nater's youthful vibrancy was apparent as he approached the stage from the rear of the gymnasium to the blasting strains of Fleetwood Mac's Don't Stop, accompanied by his wife, Justine, holding their infant daughter.
In his speech, Nater touted the party's leadership on the economy, saying Canada "will be the first G8 country to reach balanced budgets." He also said that "the family is the core building block of society," adding that was why he's proud of his party's commitment to income splitting.
He praised Perth-Wellington's agricultural base, vowing to ensure Canada's exports are "on a level playing field with the rest of the world," as well as the Canadian Forces, repeating the old adage "Freedom isn't free."
As he left the stage, Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode was played over the loudspeakers.
Steven, meanwhile, had no entrance or exit music, and ascended the stage from the front row after an introductory speech by his elementary school teacher and nominator George Wicke.
Steven, who works for Babcock and Wilcox Canada Ltd., opened with Shakespeare's famous quote from As You Like It that begins "All the world's a stage…"
He paid tribute to the federal party's leadership, saying that, under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, "our party is now able to work together and disagree without being disagreeable."
He mentioned that he doesn't wish to see a law passed regarding assisted suicide that could potentially be abused, and said that abortion was an issue between "a woman, her doctor, and God."
"I don't think it should be government-funded, but that's the price you pay to live in a free country."
In the end, Nater received 256 votes to Steven's 68.
Retiring incumbent MP Gary Schellenberger said both men made for "two great candidates."
"I've known John since he was in university," he said. "He's very competent, and I think he'll make a great member of parliament."
Steven said he had always wanted to run for office, and that the opportunity to do so in Perth-Wellington doesn't come along very often.
However, now that the results were in, he said he was glad his campaign was over.
"I really mean it when I say the people have spoken and I whole-heartedly accept the decision," he said.
Meanwhile, Nater said his campaign was going to begin in earnest starting Monday, getting signs and literature printed.
"Gary is leaving big shoes to fill. He's very well known," he said, adding that he plans to work hard in order to keep the riding Conservative.
"I'm going to get out there, get my name out, and start knocking on doors," he said.