Auto Service World
News   January 7, 2004   by Auto Service World

Canadian Auto Parts Magnate Stronach Eyes Political Opportunity

Belinda Stronach, the multimillionaire CEO of Magna International, is leaning toward making a bid for the leadership of the new federal Conservative party, sources say.
“If it was five per cent before, it’s 75 per cent now,” an associate said of Stronach’s likelihood of running in a Canadian Press report. “She’s been almost overwhelmed by the number of people calling her.”
Stronach, a telegenic 37-year-old with an impeccable business pedigree, would add significant lustre to a leadership race _ and a new federal party — that has so far been dogged by high profile names opting out rather than in.
The merged entity, created out of the former Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative parties, has no policy platform, a split caucus and faces an anticipated spring federal election against new Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin.
Calgary lawyer Jim Prentice, who finished second in last spring’s Tory leadership race, is the only declared candidate for the March 19-21 leadership vote, while Alliance leader Stephen Harper, another Albertan, will officially launch his campaign on Monday.
Harper is considered the clear front-runner now that New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord and former Ontario premier Mike Harris have opted not to run.
Former Ontario health minister Tony Clement, B.C. MP Chuck Strahl and Tory leader Peter MacKay of Nova Scotia are also considering leadership bids.
Stronach, the daughter of Magna auto parts chairman Frank Stronach, has been called the most powerful businesswoman in Canada. She’s long been involved in conservative politics at the Ontario and federal levels but has never sought elected office.

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