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This article was published 25/5/2016 (1370 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA — A prominent Winnipeg radiologist is exploring the possibility of running to be the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Dr. Dan Lindsay launched an exploratory committee this week and will spend the weekend glad-handing at the Conservative convention in Vancouver as he decides whether he wants to officially join the race.
"When I look at the political spectrum I think... there needs to be some real leadership with a sense of humour," Lindsay told the Free Press in an interview today.
Lindsay, 60, grew up in Winnipeg and graduated from medical school at the University of Manitoba. He is currently the director of diagnostic imaging for both the Interlake Regional Health Authority and the Northern Regional Health Authority and is the president-elect of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba. He served five tours in Afghanistan as a radiologist in Kandahar, an experience he said shaped a lot of how he sees Canada, thanks to eye-opening experiences about other parts of the world.
Lindsay was careful with his words when asked what he thought worked against the Conservatives last fall, when the 10-year-old government of Stephen Harper was felled by a resurrected Liberal Party under Justin Trudeau.
"Perhaps the message wasn't getting out," he said. "There was a sense the government wasn't listening."
He also said the positive messaging of Trudeau's "sunny ways" campaign resonated with everyone.
But he doesn't think the current government, or Trudeau, has the chops to make Canada what it should be — the wealthiest country in the world, saying Trudeau is neither courageous nor a strong leader, but is arrogant and full of swagger.
"I want to see, whoever is our leader, I want to see that individual garner international respect," said Lindsay.
Lindsay was active in the riding association of former MP Steven Fletcher, and is a longtime member of, and donor to, the Conservative Party but he is still mostly an outsider to politics. He said he thinks that can be advantage because he doesn't have the cynicism or baggage of being an MP.
Fletcher, now a Manitoba MLA, said it is a lot harder for someone outside the current caucus to win a leadership race.
"He's a good man," said Fletcher. "He is genuinely interested in public policy particularly in the area of health."
Lindsay said he will be looking to see what kind of response he gets at the convention this weekend and intends to make a decision quickly because he knows he will have to work hard to get his recognition up, more so than some of the well-known candidates. He already speaks some French but is working on becoming fully bilingual.
The new Conservative leader will be chosen at a convention in May 2017. Thus far, there are three official candidates in the race — MPs Kellie Leitch, Maxime Bernier and Michael Chong. Several others are said to be eyeing it, including current MPs Jason Kenney and Lisa Raitt and former justice minister Peter MacKay, who sat out the last election and is currently working as a lawyer. Businessman and reality television star Kevin O'Leary is looking to make a run as an outsider. Interim Leader Rona Ambrose is currently not eligible to run but there is a move afoot at the convention to change the rules so she can. So far, she has said regardless of that, she is not interested in seeking the permanent job.
Updated on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 3:45 PM CDT: Updates, adds photo
May 28, 2016 at 6:20 PM: Fixes typo.