Dunrobin entrepreneur and project management consultant Ade Olumide plans to run for the federal Conservative nomination for the riding of Kanata-Carleton.
Olumide said he met with Gordon O'Connor late last year about the current Carleton-Mississippi Mills MP's plan to retire from federal politics. With O'Connor leaving, Olumide said he would seek the nomination in the revamped riding of Kanata-Carleton.
"He was very supportive and pleasantly pleased," said Olumide. "I wouldn't say surprised because I've always had a good relationship with him.
"He's a person of good integrity and I think that's one of his strongest points. He's shown himself to be, you know what you would call, a straightshooter. It's a good quality I hope to emulate."
When asked last week if Olumide is the best candidate, O'Connor sidestepped the question.
"At this point there are no candidates as the nomination process to find a candidate has not been undertaken. There is no nomination process until the party declares that process begins," O'Connor wrote in an emailed response. "I cannot comment on the nomination of candidates at this time."
Olumide founded the Ottawa Taxpayers Advocacy Group in an effort to keep then-Mayor Larry O'Brien true to his word of "zero means zero" for tax increases.
"There was no voice saying, 'We want you to hold the line on taxes' or 'We want to have value for money,'" said Olumide. "We were the only group saying don't spend."
He added his past experience lobbying for "value for taxpayer dollars" is something party members will find attractive in his nomination run.
"I think that's a record. That's a skill people of the riding will find appealing as far as a replacement for Gordon O'Conner goes," Olumide said.
Olumide has served as a policy advisor to Progressive Conservative Carleton-Mississippi Mills MPP Jack MacLaren.
An area he feels passionately about is the provincial Samsung contract for green energy. He said he wants the federal government to review a breach of contract in the agreement on International Trade (AIT).
"The Samsung contract is a breach of the AIT agreement and the federal minister of industry is in charge. That is something that I certainly intend to raise and go to bat. I believe there are grounds to cancel the contract, and I believe the cost of cancellation would be cheaper than the cost of going ahead," he said.
"I'm not saying the federal government can intervene anytime a province takes actions that are not in interest of the economy and its citizens, but ... they can review the breach of the AIT agreement."
The agreement calls for all procurements over $25,000 to go to tender. "If it's not going to tender, then there are clear stipulations in the agreement - one of which is there is no other supplier," Olumide said, adding he takes issue with the fact that there are other companies who may have provided the same deal at a lower cost to the province.
"It wasn't put to tender. No other industries were able to bid," he said. "Why weren't we allowed to buy from another Canadian company? If we're going to waste money, why not waste it with a Canadian company ... We don't know if we got the lowest bid or the most competent bid.
"I know this is Kathleen Wynne's jurisdiction, but I will argue that the federal government oversees the AIT agreement. It sends a message to any other province that if you're going to not tender be sure that you can defend your position.
"So I will just be pushing, this issue is just an example that I'm not the kind of person who will sit back and say this is not my business. If there's a federal angle, I'm willing to listen." A husband and father of three children, Olumide has a background in project management and real estate development. He also has a bachelor of mechanical engineering from the University of Vegas, and a master in business management from the University of Warwick.
He said he's been knocking on doors, making phone calls to riding constituents and speaking at events.
"The focus right now is, as you can imagine, speaking with like-minded people so they can join the party and vote in the nomination for somebody who shares their views," said Olumide. "I like the approach where people get to ask me questions directly and talk about issues and what I hope to achieve as a member of parliament. There's a stronger personal connection. You can hear their views and get their feedback as well."
Calls to Conservative riding president Tracey Mosely hadn't been returned as of press time. So far, no other names have been mentioned in connection with the party's nomination process.