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Openly gay Canadian politician Scott Brison announced Thursday his bid for leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party, reports the Toronto Star. Brison, the fourth Tory to run for the position, is the first openly gay Conservative in Canada's history to enter the leadership race. Brison said Canada needs to be a country that "influences our friend and partner, the United States, instead of irritating it." He also said he believes in a "well-funded health-care system that respects Canadians to allow them to make choices and a federal government that provides stable and predictable funding to the provinces and then respects provincial governments enough to allow them to try new approaches to service delivery." Brison will be joined in the race by Nova Scotian MP Peter MacKay, Calgary lawyer Jim Prentice, Saskatchewan farmer David Orchard, and ex-federal cabinet minister Heward Grafftey. The election will be held June 1 in Toronto.