Tory MP Lisa Raitt ponders leadership decision at home in Cape Breton
Raitt touring country to get a feel for political climate before deciding leadership bid
Former Conservative cabinet minister Lisa Raitt returned home to her Sydney, N.S., roots this week where she is expected to make a final decision on whether to run for her party's leadership.
Raitt, who grew up in Whitney Pier, is moving close to making a bid to lead the federal Conservative party.
"When I decided to run in 2008 for member of Parliament, my gut check was done here in Sydney, sitting at the kitchen table with my family and having the conversations that I needed to have about what the effect was going to be going forward ... I'm home for the conversation again. So this is it," she told CBC's Mainstreet in Sydney.
'Tell me what you think I should do'
Raitt, who is MP for the Ontario riding of Milton, has been touring the country, testing the political waters before making an announcement about her decision.
She put out a request for anyone "that sees me on Charlotte Street or wherever I am, stop me and tell me what you think I should do."
She took the opportunity Wednesday to speak out against the Liberal Party's recent decision to change the way it appoints justices to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Region needs judge on top court
Changes to judicial appointments could leave Atlantic Canada without any representation on the country`s highest court. Previously, a spot on the bench was reserved for the region, but that has been scrapped.
Justice Thomas Cromwell, a Nova Scotian and the only justice hailing from the Atlantic provinces, will retire from the bench in September, which leaves a hole in the court's regional composition.
"I was really surprised. I was very shocked by this pronouncement. Once again, we're getting the short end of the stick in this part of the world and it drives me around the bend, when people assume we're not good enough, we can't be bilingual, we don't have visible minorities, whatever that mix that they're looking for," the Tory finance critic said.
Atlantic Canada not 'a backwater'
"They're saying they can't find the appropriate candidate in the four provinces, but they didn't even try."
Raitt said she's sick of the Atlantic region being considered "a backwater," noting Nova Scotia appointed the country's first female chief justice of a provincial Supreme Court, Constance Glube. She died earlier this year.
"I'm really surprised there's not a greater outcry, especially since I'm really proud coming from a part of the world that doesn't take a lot lying down. We stand up for what we believe is right and we certainly take a stand when we think we're not getting the right end of the stick. This is absolutely the case."
Raitt meets with small business
Raitt was meeting Thursday with members of the small business community in Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
She said anyone who has run a longtime business in the economically challenged area "deserves a medal."
She compared her riding's three-per cent unemployment rate with CBRM's which has been hovering between 14 and 15 per cent.