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Derek Parks to run for Ontario PCs in Thunder Bay-Superior North

The Ontario Progressive Conservatives have chosen their new candidate to run in Thunder Bay-Superior North.

The Ontario PC Party has chosen a new candidate to run in Thunder Bay-Superior North.

Derek Parks has been acclaimed to represent the party and replaces Tamara Johnson, who the party ousted after controversial comments she posted about First Nations businesses.

Parks said he doesn't expect the controversy will affect his own chances.

“I think people are going to look at me, hopefully, for who I am and what I stand [for] and represent,” he said.

“I look forward to talking with the people of Thunder Bay-Superior North about all their concerns.”

Derek Parks has been acclaimed to represent the Ontario PC Party in Thunder Bay-Superior North. (Matt Prokopchuk/CBC)

After he heard about Tamara Johnson being expelled from the party, Parks said he didn't hear of anyone stepping in to replace her.

"Then I thought, 'I should call around and see what's going on. Why not give it a try?’"

Parks said he plans to encourage movement on the development of the Ring of Fire mining project.

He also said he thinks “the Thunder Bay Generating Station is key to showing a signal to industry that the province is committed to the people of Thunder Bay-Superior North."

Parks is originally from Thunder Bay, but has been working in southern Ontario for the past 20 years. His environmental consulting firm works with mining companies.

He plans to split his time between the two locations.

"I travel through Thunder Bay on a regular basis for work for the past 20 years so, even though I haven't technically lived here, I'm here three-to-five times a year visiting family and work-related stuff."

Parks parents still live in Thunder Bay. He also has two daughters, but said he's electing not to move them here in the wake of a family tragedy two years ago.

"Life is just starting to stabilize,” he said. “So I don't think it's fair to upheave them."

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