Following the nation’s first-ever ranked ballot municipal election, Ed Holder has been chosen to lead London as the city’s next mayor.
While he’ll be making his city council debut in early December, Holder is far from a political rookie.
The mayor-elect spent seven years as the Conservative MP for London-West and has prior experience serving as the federal minister of science and technology, as well as the chair of the Conservative Southwest Ontario Caucus.
“During my time as a member of parliament, I [spent] five years on the Standing Committee on International Trade,” said Holder.
“I travelled the world seeing how other countries do business and I have a pretty good understanding of that… I think the ability to be able to attract new businesses and new jobs to London will be important for all of us.”
Once sworn in, Holder will be joined by a familiar face in the Railway City, following the election of Joe Preston as mayor in St. Thomas.
Like Holder, Preston is another former Conservative MP, having served Elgin-Middlesex-London from 2004 to 2015.
“He and I worked very closely together… in fact, we lived in the same building,” said Holder, adding that his already-established relationships will be a huge help for London.
“Certainly with Joe, the mayor of Stratford, the mayor of Sarnia… there are going to be some regional issues that we’ll take forward to the provincial and federal levels of government.”
On Saudi Arabia
Holder’s resume also includes being the inaugural chairperson of the Canada Saudi Business Council (CSBC), a group intended to promote trade between the countries.
The Liberal government has felt pressured to cancel a multi-billion dollar arms deal between Canada and the Saudi regime, following the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
On a local level, the deal has General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) contracted to supply light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. Located in east London, GDLS employs more than 2,000 workers at its factory.
While Holder has since stepped down from his position with the CSBC, he says he still has insight into the Canadian-Saudi relationship.
“Why the relationship still matters is because of the thousands jobs in London that are impacted,” said Holder, adding that he hopes to see the contract upheld.
“I think that’s important for not only the employees and families of General Dynamics… but also, the 500 to 700 companies who are suppliers to GDLS that provide meaningful employment to their staff and their families.”
The mayor-elect’s time is now being spent in the transition phase leading up to his assumption of office.
While he spent his time in the federal spotlight serving the Conservative Party of Canada, Holder says the incoming council won’t be held to party politics
“We will work to bring council together on behalf of all Londoners and get things done,” said Holder.
Holder’s swearing in will take place in early December.
Mayor-elect Ed Holder’s full interview with XFM News can be heard below: