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Posted 18 Dec 2001   For week ended December 14, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 15Dec01

By Kent Larsen

LDS Canadian MP Seeks Party Leadership

CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA -- An LDS doctor, Grant Hill, who also represents the McLeod riding in Canada's parliament, may decide as early as Monday to seek the leadership of the relatively new Canadian Alliance party, which has its roots in Alberta province. Should he run for party leader, Hill may face three other candidates, including former Alliance leader Stockwell Day. Hill says he has been pressured by friends and a broad base of party members from across Canada to seek the position.

If successful in the party's election, to be held next March, Hill's rise to the top of the party will have come just eight years after he first won a seat in Parliament. Hill joined the national legislature in 1993, after his wife challenged the successful surgeon to stop griping about politics and do something.

Before the Reform party joined other forces to form the Canadian Alliance, Hill was already taking a part in party leadership. He was a member of Reform's Opposition Shadow Cabinet, serving first as critic for Health for five years, then as critic for Intergovernmental Affairs and Official Languages, and then, last January, as Opposition Deputy Leader.

If Hill chooses to enter the race, he will face better known candidates such as former Reform MP Stephen Harper and the controversial Stockwell Day. He may also face lesser-known Calgary Nose Hill MP Diane Ablonczy.

But Hill says he didn't initially want the position, and that he is responding to pressure from fellow party members, "This is not where my life was supposed to go. This is not a role I sought. The pressure started about a month ago, pressure I discounted. But it built, it continued, it grew. I went from being skeptical to being mildly interested. The group swelled and grew more and now I am fairly seriously looking at the prospect."

He adds that he will make his decision on running contingent on having sufficient cash, the support of MPs from across Canada, and an organization capable of winning. But his supporters are drafting him because he is exactly what he says he is. He isn't glamourous or glitzy, or even hard-driving and ambitious. He is principled and hard-working and a peacemaker. A man who does what he says he'll do.

Unlike the better known Harper, Hill says he will push for unity in the party, trying to unite its disparate factions into a major party that can oppose the Liberals. "If we don't co-operate, we're fools. I'm trying to attract everybody I can to the big tent," says Hill. "We have to stop the sniping. I would call a truce to the backbiting and the bitter exchanges. We need to work together while we are going down the bigger path."

Hill says he is a populist, appealing to social conservatives and those who like smaller government. And he says he won't shy away from questions of faith, or be bothered if the media look at his religious beliefs, "This is not about wearing your faith on your sleeve, but I want a voice at the table for people of faith to be able to speak loudly and clearly about what's important to them. I don't mind the media exploring my private beliefs, if they do the same with the prime minister. I expect fairness. That's something I don't always see."

Instead, Hill believes that his simple message will, in the end, be most persuasive, "Look at your pay stub from last December and put it next to a pay stub from this December. You tell me. Are you better off today? is what you're hearing from this government honest? Trust the person who does what he says. More razzmatazz is not what we need."


House doctor
Calgary AB Canada Sun 13Dec01 T2
By Rick Bell: Calgary Sun
Dr. Grant Hill may join others in Alliance leadership race


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