Mark King has made history as the first People’s Party of Canada candidate for election in the riding of Nipissing-Timiskaming.
King announced his federal candidacy surrounded by supporters at his North Bay business Wednesday morning.
“We now have an election in the riding of Nipissing-Timiskaming,” said King. “I can tell you there is a huge sense of relief after watching what’s going on.”
Up until last week, King was the candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada for the riding, but had his nomination was revoked after he allegedly used a corporate credit card to purchase party memberships for himself and close family members.
Doing so is in violation of party policy.
"Sole proprietorship is not a corporation. And that is exactly what this is, sole proprietorship. We are not a corporation. The card was not a corporate card. From my viewpoint, I`m not prepared to go any further with it. We`ve answered the question exactly the way Revenue Canada presented the answer to you (media). It was a sole proprietorship. That`s what they indicated. It was completely legal. There was nothing wrong with it, explained King.
"I have a corporation which is under the guidelines of Revenue Canada. But sole proprietorship is me and H. Freeman & Co Ltd. H Freeman & Co Ltd is strictly an operating name. This is unbelievable that the party would actually wait until I was going to vote at the nomination meeting and tell me I couldn`t vote because their response at that particular point was that I was no longer a candidate. ``
King said he won the nomination fair and square.
"But the reality was they wanted somebody else in there, `he said.
"They can`t prove it was a corporate card. No way. I think we have to put an end to that discussion. This is not about a $15 membership. This is about who is running and who is the best candidate for election. ``
Right now, the People`s Party of Canada wants him as its local candidate.
King said he spoke with the leader of the People’s Party, Maxime Bernier who formed the party on September 14, 2018.
“He assured me that I would have a full opportunity as the MP for Nipissing-Timiskaming to bring the issues of this riding forward to Ottawa, `said King.
“The first line of discussion was prior to even entering the nomination race. At that point, I did indicate to them that I was going to seek the Conservative nomination. Things have a way of changing, for the better. And that is what you’re watching now.”
King says there is a real shift taking place in Canadian politics, and he believes they are part of that shift.
“The next generation should have the opportunity of free choice like I did because of what my father did in the past.”
King's father Don was severely wounded in World War Two.
Part of his platform will focus on the need for federal funding for millions in repairs to a runway at the North Bay Jack Garland Airport, solutions to the opioid crisis, and money to improve the safety of Highway 11 N between North Bay and New Liskeard saying, "it is not just a provincial issue.”
King will be meeting with other candidates later this week.
“I expect the PPC party to do very well . I will be in London Friday morning where all the northwestern candidates will be introduced. This will be a major introduction. As of discussions yesterday, there are some 319 nominees now in place across the country for this party,” said King.
“You also need to recognize that this party was only formed nine months ago, but the word is getting out. Obviously from this press conference today, there is definitely a shift taking place.”
He was asked about the perception in the public after having announced his support for the PPC just one week after leaving the Conservative Party behind.
“I’ve thought about what that looks like, what it means, and my personal thought is I’m here as a representative for the riding of Nipissing-Timiskaming. I’m here because I think we need to make absolutely certain that we get the message out as far as the riding is concerned, `` said King.
“There is no question there are a lot of disgruntled, undecided voters out there. I think people know me. I’ve been a pretty high-profile person for a great number of years around the political scene. And they know that I speak the truth. They know that I stand up for the region.”
As a current sitting member of North Bay City Council, and chair of the District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board, King says he will maintain those positions while running as the party candidate.
“Once we get closer to the writ being dropped, I will make a decision at that point.”