The Ontario PC Party has announced that Loyalist Township Mayor Ric Bresee will be running in the next provincial election as the Progressive Conservative representative in Hastings–Lennox and Addington. The announcement was made on Saturday, Mar. 12, 2022 at Papa’s Pizzeria in Amherstview.
Bresee has had an extensive career in municipal politics, with 22 years as part of the Loyalist Township Municipal Council as a councillor, deputy mayor, and as the current mayor. “During that time,” noted a release from the Ontario PC Party, “he worked to build new residential and commercial areas, including the Loyalist East Business Park, which has added 21 new businesses. Loyalist has seen one of the highest residential growth rates in Eastern Ontario.”
Bresee, a lifelong Amherstview resident, is a graduate of the Business Systems Analyst program at St. Lawrence College. After graduating, Bresee spent nearly 20 years working full-time as a Systems Analyst and then an Adaptive Technologist for St. Lawrence College, while also a part-time instructor in various fields, including computer science, economics and Wind Policy in Canada.
Shelby Kramp-Neuman, the current Member of Parliament (MP) for Hastings–Lennox & Addington and also a member of the Conservative Party, noted at the announcement that Bresee’s municipal background will serve him well. “He certainly comes from a ton of experience. So we have someone who is dedicated, experienced, passionate — he has tremendously big boots to fill,” she chuckled. “But I have no doubt that you can do it, and I look so forward to working with you, because the importance of collaborating from a municipal standpoint, provincial standpoint, and federal standpoint can be a real win for the riding, and a real win for Ontario and Canada.”
Daryl Kramp, the outgoing Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Hastings–Lennox & Addington, gave Bresee a strong endorsement, and agreed with his daughter’s assertion that collaboration is key. “All the three levels of government — federal, provincial, and municipal — if you really want results for your riding, they have to work together,” Kramp said. “You have to be able to find a way to not just always find agreement, but make sure you get your point forward. And you have to be strong to do that. And I am just tickled. I’m absolutely tickled right now to be able to have Ric step forward and be the choice of the [PC] party at this particular time.”
Kramp also noted that Bresee’s strong knowledge of the riding’s people and even its geography will be an asset. “Ric not only knows his riding, from one end to the other as well, but he knows lots of people, and if you don’t know the people, you can’t represent them effectively. And I will say one other little statistic for you. This is one of the largest ridings in the province, but I told some of my colleagues who have 10 city blocks in Toronto, I said, ‘You know, you can drive from Ottawa to Toronto. But in the same time, you can cross this riding.’ You go from Coronation Boulevard to just short of Algonquin Park…the actual center of the riding is seven miles north of Madoc! So it’s a lot of work, and a lot of different dynamics, and a lot of different people to look after and service.”
When asked what prompted the switch from municipal to provincial governance, Bresee noted that he hopes to bring the riding’s voice to the provincial level even more clearly. “I’ve absolutely loved my role as mayor, and 22 years on council here has been amazing. The last couple years I’ve been the warden in the county. I’ve gotten to work with people like Daryl, like Shelby, to make sure that our area is well-supported. Throughout that entire 22 years, I’ve seen that there are times when I’ve said, ‘If only, if only we could carry this message to the province,’ because there’s only so much time you can spend with those other agencies. So that message, being able to carry the voice, the message of our local residents, our constituents, and make sure that that voice gets carried to the province is a tremendous benefit to the community… and I think I’ve got the skills to make sure that I am carrying that voice well, once we get to Queen’s Park.”
Bresee noted that a primary focus of that message will be to bolster the riding economically. “It’s always really important for me to reiterate the strength of the voice that you need at Queen’s Park for this riding, to build the economics, because that is the backbone that means that people are doing well. It’s the backbone that means that the health situation is well, that the education situation — all of those various departments that MPP Kramp was talking about earlier. If we have strong economics, all the rest will come. So we need to keep our eye on all of these features. We need to build our economic base.”
Moving beyond municipal politics also involves affiliation with a political party, and Bresee stated his reasons for choosing to run as a candidate for the PC Party. “I believe that Doug Ford, the Premier of Ontario, has done an amazing job over the last few years,” Bresee said. “This pandemic has been unique. Nobody saw it coming. Nobody could have planned completely for this type of activity, but they have done a really solid job of listening to the doctors, doing it right… I really respect the job that Premier Ford and the entire governing party has done over the last few years. I also see that this is the time when we’re coming out of the pandemic. We need to start to rebuild. And this is the party that will say ‘yes’ to rebuilding. This is the party that will move the government in the right directions to allow the economic growth that we so desperately need right now.”
In his address to his supporters, Bresee spoke about his motivation for seeking the MPP seat, noting that he sees rebuilding in the wake of COVID-19 as the primary challenge of the near future. “I’m entering this race because after two years of pandemic disruption, Ontario and this riding must now begin the difficult task of rebuilding itself. I know that many people are concerned about economic recovery, the rising cost of living, the price of gas, the debts that have been taken on by individuals and by businesses across the riding and across the province. We’re all concerned about our collective health, in terms of COVID and in terms of all the things that COVID impacted over the last few years. We need to move forward.”
“The last 22 years in municipal politics, it’s taught me that rebuilding the economy starts with building healthy communities that can create and sustain secure, well-paying jobs.” Bresee continued. “It’s an incredibly important piece. And this is done by assisting small business and providing encouragement for investment, for rebuilds, and to start new businesses… Helping our residents and helping our businesses succeed will help Hastings–Lennox & Addington to succeed in this riding.”
Bresee noted that he’s prepared for a heavy workload and the learning curve that would come with the MPP role. “I will work hard to get the job done for this riding,” he asserted. “Most of you know me; you know that I’ve always stood for honesty, integrity, accountability. I’m prepared to stand up, take my lumps sometimes when I’ve done something that didn’t work well. And the councillors here will acknowledge that they’ve certainly helped me to account for that. But I believe I’ve earned a reputation here… as someone who was accountable. And I hope to earn that reputation with everyone across the riding.”
“The future of this riding depends on bringing together the people, the ideas, to work together on the things that will unite us as a community, as a riding, and as a province, rather than focusing on the things that will divide us,” he concluded.
The Ontario Provincial election is expected to occur on Thursday, Jun. 2, 2022.