Rob Lantz: An unconventional politician

Teresa Wright
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Progressive Conservative leadership hopeful Rob Lantz chats with some of the residents of the Andrews of Stratford seniors’ facility during a campaign stop. Lantz is one of three people vying for leadership of the PC party.

The following is the first in a series of profiles of the three PC leadership contenders. 
Click here for the profile on James Aylward
Click here for the profile on Darlene Compton

For a man who wants to become the leader of one of P.E.I.’s two main political parties, Rob Lantz is surprisingly unassuming.

The photogenic 45-year-old candidate was soft-spoken and often self-effacing during an afternoon with The Guardian on the campaign trail last week.



He arrived at the newspaper office in a red minivan, driven by one of his campaign volunteers, well-known former CBC personality Roger Younker. Younker joked about the colour of the van, pointing to Lantz’s blue jeans as a more appropriate colour for the Progressive Conservative leadership hopeful.

Their first stop was the Andrews of Stratford seniors’ facility. Lantz listened attentively during a tour of the facility. It was clear he was familiar with the concerns raised by facility president Keith O’Neill regarding difficulties private community care centres are having with government regulations and funding. But he refrained from taking any pot shots at the current Liberal administration over these concerns. He mainly nodded and listened.

Later, he entered a large common room filled with seniors sitting around tables enjoying a mid-morning snack. Lantz went to every table, chit-chatting easily with the residents, occasionally introducing himself as ‘Dr. Brodie Lantz’s son.’

Younker commented that three weeks earlier, Lantz found it challenging to work a room. Even now, while he appeared confident shaking hands and making small talk, there was a certain hesitation in his demeanour.

But Lantz firmly dismisses the notion he is a rookie in this campaign. He pointed to the eight years he served on Charlottetown city council, notably as chair of the oft-combative planning board.

With falling oil prices, we’re getting a very skilled and experienced workforce returning to P.E.I., which is probably unprecedented. And if we can harness their skills and talent and experience, I think we need to view that as a big opportunity.

“I’ve had more political experience than the other two candidates. I’ve chaired more contentious public meetings over the past eight years than I can shake a stick at. Charlottetown politics is not just any community council on P.E.I., it’s a full service community with a $40-million budget.”

His next campaign stop was a highly unusual one — the Crossfit 782 gym. There he showcased his adeptness at chin-ups and weight lifting. He later explained that his campaign team wants people to get to know some of his lesser-known accomplishments — he is an avid Crossfitter, he is fluently bilingual, he plays guitar.

Later, he headed over to his campaign headquarters, abuzz with volunteers working the phones. Someone handed Lantz a spreadsheet. It was a list of people he was to follow up on with personal phone calls.

Lantz explained his team has a comprehensive database with names and details of all party members, including whether they are supporters and their key issues of concern.

Lantz says he sees himself as an “unconventional politician” because he not in this race for personal gain, but because he wants to change the way things are done in government.

“I’m not interested in getting into it just to be a cog in the wheel of the big machine and perpetuate the status quo,. Maybe I’ll fail, but I prefer to be in there the same way I was on city council — constantly advocating for new ways of doing things … My best case scenario is to make a transformational change that will set the province on a path for a new era of prosperity for a generation.”

Organizations: CBC, Charlottetown city council

Geographic location: P.E.I., Stratford, Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Bertha
    February 27, 2015 - 16:42

    In terms of judgement, this is the man who picked a fight with the fry shack. In terms of standing up for Islanders, this is the man who said he'd talk to Homberg about the mess he made of the hotel--and a quick drive downtown will show you how well that worked out. Rob Lantz: Standing against the little guy.

  • dj
    February 19, 2015 - 17:39

    Mr. Lantz was endorsed by Basil Stewart!

    February 19, 2015 - 12:37

    I am assuming you will also profile the Green and the NDP Parties......

  • John
    February 18, 2015 - 16:30

    Lantz went to every table, chit-chatting easily with the residents, occasionally introducing himself as ‘Dr. Brodie Lantz’s son.’ Jeff you should be your own person not ride the coat tails of your father. Ghiz did this and we also see Justin Trudeau doing the same.

  • Time to move along
    February 18, 2015 - 14:58

    Refreshing to see a Politician say they will think for themselves and move this Island forward!

  • Time to move along
    February 18, 2015 - 14:54

    Refreshing to see a Politician say they will think for themselves and move this Island forward!

  • Elections PEI question
    February 18, 2015 - 10:50

    I see this morning Wade had David Dunphy out for coffee at Tim's. Dunphy had this on his Twitter feed. Interesting as he is still referred to as the Mayor of Stratford and has his Mayoral Chain on in his profile photo, but he clearly states he is having "Great conversation happening @StratfordPEI Tim Hortons @DavidDunphy #pei #peipoli" Is this not a conflict to be wearing the Mayoral Suit and shaking hands and kissing babies when he isn't even elected as the Provincial Liberal candidate for the area? Someone needs to start running against Wade's appointed candidates and take back the Liberal party before it is too late. I seriously believe we are going to see voters openly vote for candidates who will not be afraid to go independent to get out from under the Wade thumb. I am starting to think some of the good Liberals should look at running Tory.

    • dj
      February 18, 2015 - 12:29

      David,is only looking out for one person himself! Okay, maybe two Wade! If he, is voted in, it will be a serious judgment mistake on our part as voters! Same goes for Wade! The rich,get richer, the poor, get poorer, Birds of a feather, flock together!! You get me!

  • Jimmy Buffet
    February 18, 2015 - 10:07

    The article is very sketchy on his work experience . What does he do at Delta Ware , what is his education background ... reads more like a Tory newsletter then a newspaper story . What qualifies him to be a premier .

  • thank you!
    February 18, 2015 - 09:36

    Mr,lantz ,seems like a fine gentlemen and Ms, Comtpon also, is a fine lady! Mr, Mac Laughlin too,seems like an good man! I have vote in many elections in my ,69 years. I don't vote for a party but ,for the man or woman that makes the most sense to me! While the other three candidates are well spoken! I look more to what they don't say. I have been at three gathering that Mr, Alyward has attended,.. not political..and he spoke to everyone with respect ,right down to a youngest that had special needs, he didn't need to do that but,he did,which showed me what kind of man and politician he would make! As, I said I have voted with my head not my heart and I have been proud to do so! I voted NDP the last election and the time before that for Mr,Griz . .

  • Dennis
    February 18, 2015 - 09:15

    Rob is certainly a thoughtful, viable candidate, but I hope The Guardian is planning on spending the same amount of time and energy of a senior reporter to do promotional work for all other leadership candidates from all other parties. Otherwise - it looks a lot like a campaign donation.

    • Jocelyne Lloyd
      February 18, 2015 - 10:07

      Hi Dennis, As we note in the intro to the story, Teresa Wright has also spent the same amount of time and energy on bringing us stories on James Aylward and Darlene Compton. Those stories will appear in the coming days. Jocelyne Lloyd, web editor

    • ALL other parties
      February 18, 2015 - 13:03

      If "all other parties" only includes the other two PC candidates - then this is indeed a slanted story.

  • unconventional?
    February 18, 2015 - 08:42

    Seems pretty conventional to surround yourself with has been's like Basil Stewart and Roger Younker. I did vote for you at the advance poll, but I am actually wondering why I did... I thought you would actually bring new faces to your team. Sincerely, someone who should of voted differently

  • Mark b.
    February 18, 2015 - 08:42

    Rob will make an excellent leader and hopefully become the next premier. Honesty, integrity and a good track record in government..

    • Shane
      February 18, 2015 - 10:44

      I truly hope Rob will be given this opportunity, he has a lot of charisma and good intentions.