By Kyle Reid | Dec. 22, 2020
Matthew Chapman is back as the Conservative Party of Canada candidate for the next federal election, setting up a rematch of the 2019 election race in Avalon riding.
On Thursday, Chapman defeated former premier Paul Davis in a tight race for the federal Tory nomination by a narrow margin of 299 votes to 281. He congratulated Davis on a strong showing.
“(Davis) and his team ran a great campaign,” said Chapman. “(Davis) has been out of public life for a couple of years now, so to get back into this it’s very challenging… he’s to be commended for that.”
Now, Chapman is looking forward to getting another crack at a seat in the House of Commons. But to do it, he’ll have to defeat incumbent Ken McDonald, the Liberal who beat him in the last election.
“It feels great,” Chapman said of his nomination victory. “I feel there’s unfinished business from the last election.”
Chapman, a teacher and basketball coach, was defeated last year by the incumbent Member of Parliament, McDonald, receiving 12,855 votes to McDonald’s 19,122. Chapman said his preparation and involvement in public life over the past year could be the difference maker next time.
“In the last election I, was called in the summer of 2019 to be a volunteer,” said Chapman. “I quickly realized (that the CPC) didn’t have a candidate and then the conversation turned; it was not something I was personally expecting….I became the official candidate and we worked extremely hard, and put together a small team. I was relatively unknown and we still managed nearly 13,000 votes. Now I haven’t stopped since the last election in organizing and helping to re-build the (Avalon) Conservative Association…We’re going to be much more organized and prepared for an election.”
In 2019, Chapman ran on a platform of conservative economic reform in Newfoundland and Labrador and across the country. A staunch supporter of the oil and gas industry — little has changed in Chapman’s message since the last election.
“The reality is oil and gas is here for decades to come,” said Chapman. “We need to make the decision if we are going to be a supplier of Canadian energy in the global energy market, or if we’re going to continue to send the demand and all of the benefits that come with it to places that don’t develop their resources to the same ethical standard and environmental standards that we do.”