Nobody really expected Randy Hillier to settle into the quiet life of an electrician, his career prior to co-founding and becoming president three-and-a-half years ago of the Lanark/Ontario Landowners Association.
Since announcing in January his retirement from that position, many have wondered what his next move would be.
Well, wonder no more! Hillier has announced his candidacy for the Progressive Conservative nomination in the new riding of Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox-Addington, minted just in time for the Oct. 4, 2007 provincial election.
The riding is one of four added to 92 existing constituencies in Southern Ontario, bringing the Ontario electoral map in line with the federal one created in 2004 through redistribution.
The nomination meeting has been set for April 21 - tentatively in Perth - with two other candidates also declared, said Hillier, a resident of the Perth area which places him inside the new riding.
Originally opposed to the notion of moving from the non-partisan OLA into partisan politics, Hillier began to chance his mind several months ago, seeing elected office as the logical next step.
While he considered the federal level, most of the issues which he's become involved in as lead Landowner are provincial.
"Besides," he said, "the equivalent federal riding is already in good hands."
That's a reference to his mentor, Scott Reid, Conservative MP for LFLA, who gave Hillier his public activism start as member of his riding rural and agricultural committee. Work done in that capacity helped launch the Landowners.
Hillier will unofficially kick off his campaign Tues., Feb. 13 during a meeting sponsored by the Lanark Landowners at Civitan Hall, Almonte, from 7 to 9 pm.
Under the theme "What's Gone Wrong With Our Rights", he'll join John Carpay, executive director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, and Judith Wilcox, lawyer and personal property rights advocate, as keynote speaker.
As a new riding there is no incumbent to be dealt with and the path to any of the riding's nominations is wide open.
During the meeting, he'll present his vision/campaign theme for restoring justice, removing intrusive regulations and enshrining property rights.
Asked if his aggressive, sometimes abrasive style would be toned down in his new role, Hillier suggested it should be just as effective in the provincial political arena.
He said there's plenty of overlap between what he did as OLA president and what he would do as an MPP because both roles are essentially about "seeking justice".
Seeing the move as a logical progression, LLA co-founder Merle Bowes said he's "extremely supportive" of Hillier's nomination bid.
"Politics needs more people with passion," Bowes said.