When it comes to which political party she supports this conservative is kind of Liberal.
Not long ago, in 2014, Urz Heer was Twitter praising Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne. Now, this Saturday Heer is hoping to be the Progressive Conservative nominee in the 2018 election for Mississauga Centre against Wynne and the Liberals.
“People evolve,” the venerable candidate explained Thursday, adding she’s “100% behind Patrick Brown.”
But the evolution had not yet begun when she once tweeted “my favourite premier @kathleen Wynne,” with a picture of them smiling.
Another tweet references a “selfie with the amazing #OLP premier @Kathleenwynne.”
Social media also shows similar grinning shots with former Liberal leaders Stephane Dion, Michael Ignatieff and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“@JustinTrudeau Happy Birthday! Thank you for saving Canada from going down a path of hatred and division #aCanadianisACanadian,” Heer tweeted in December 2015.
Six months later as a delegate at the federal Conservative convention she complained “the party worked actively and aggressively against my people . . . it didn’t differentiate who Muslims were, versus the enemy.”
Thursday she was out stumping for support for the nomination for the PCs.
“Don’t forget Jason Kenney was a Liberal once too. I actually have not been a Liberal member since 2010,” said the personable and cheerful Heer, a strong community activist and journalist. “Yes I did support Kathleen Wynne when she was looking toward being the leader but I quickly realized that this province needed something better.”
The whole notion she’s a person who saw the light is not sitting well with many longtime conservatives, who always fear potential double agents and opportunists in their midsts.
Heer dismisses the notion: “I am a loyal conservative,” she said.
Not everybody in the party is convinced -- many saying they can’t understand how someone so tight with Liberals should be rewarded by the PC party.
“It’s absurd,” said Jay Tysick, who’s own PC nomination candidacy in Carleton was disqualified “because I have a social conservative footprint.”
Being pro life, or concerned about the appropriateness of teaching of gender identity politics to children, said Tysick, “is not accepted in the Ontario PCs anymore but being a recent Liberal praising the leader of the party we are trying to replace seems to be.”
He calls it the Twilight Zone.
“There are many in the PC party now with Liberal backgrounds,” said Tysick. “I see this as a Liberal infiltration of the party.”
In fact in the case of Heer, he said, some members tried to stop her nomination but “the party brass stepped in and overturned it.”
Heer said she is grateful for that. “I do feel good about that, I am not going to lie,” she said of Brown’s support. “At the end of the day I have to work hard and he has to show he’s unbiased. He has opened up his tent to everyone.”
Everyone, said Tysick, except social conservatives.
Brown’s spokesperson said “we don’t comment on internal Party matters.”
From my point of view these things should be sorted out by the voting in the local ridings. All candidates should be able to run with their own ideas and let local members, not leadership, decide.
Tysick calls the dilution of the party “wrong and weird.”
“Do you know how many Liberal are running for the PC’s right now?” she said. “I have not been a Liberal for many years but my colleague running in Brampton was a Liberal not to long ago.”
In fact she says having former Liberals as candidates is positive.
“I would say 90 per cent of immigrants have a natural leaning toward the Liberals” and "we need to convert many people” into enjoying the benefits of becoming conservatives.
She has first-hand experience in just how to do that.