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