You may have heard by now that there’s an Ontario Liberal leadership race underway. The party executive met this weekend to set some ground rules and a convention date. So, the next question is, “Who’s in?”
With a $50,000 entry fee, and a $500,000 spending limit – and, most of all, an end-of-January leadership convention – the Ontario Liberal executive is seeking to discourage minor candidates. They are also signaling that we need a leader with name recognition; there’s no time, now, for someone to get better-known – particularly with Christmas landing in the middle of this thing. Smart move, on both counts.
So who should we pick?
Before I offer up my handy five-point guide, gratis, I should observe that – for a lot of us – this leadership stuff is happening really, really fast. Less than a week ago, we had Dalton McGuinty, the winningest Liberal Premier in a Century. Less than a week later, he’s said that he’s resigning, and it’s left a lot of Ontario Liberals in shock. It has been a hard time, a sad time.
Filling his shoes is a tall order, and there should be no doubt about that. But I believe that, if we’re smart, we can pick a leader who will win the next election, which now seems certain to be in 2013.
In my many conversations with Ontario Liberals, I’ve asked them five questions. Answered right, the questions all point in the direction of one person, and one person only.
Here they are.
Do you agree that, with the right leader and a lot of hard work, we can win the next provincial election – with a proven winner, someone who has never lost an election?
Okay, you got that right. But that’s easy. So who do you think is the leader and the party that represents the greatest threat to Ontario Liberal fortunes?
That’s right, Andrea Horwath’s NDP. Tim Hudak’s PCs are a rural rump; Hudak is highly unpopular; and his pals, like Rob Ford and Stephen Harper, have hurt him plenty. So, against Horwath, do we need yet another male leader, or a scrappy, smart woman?
That’s right, we need an agent of change, and a female leader is the literal embodiment of that, in today’s male-dominated politics. It’s time; it’s the right thing to do. The amazing Alison Redford showed the country just that, in the most conservative province in the country, too. So do we not need a scrappy, smart woman who knows how to beat the NDP, and has plenty of experience doing that, in election after election?
Of course we do. Now, in the past year, we have seen that a lot of voters like the Liberal government’s direction, but not so much the way in which things have been done. So, the final question: do we also not need that leader who has been far from the controversies and difficulties of the past year that have – sadly, perhaps unfairly – hurt the fortunes of every member of cabinet?
The answers to those questions are all pretty obvious, when you reflect on them. And they all suggest that only one person can win this thing, and win big.
Will she do it? I don’t know.
But if she does, me – and a lot of other folks – will be with her.
(Now, comment away. I’m interested to see what you folks think, as always.)
I’ll be with her, too.
Yes, I know, they’ve made more than one. But this, seriously?
Remember New Coke? Yeah, like that.
The Windsor This Week op ed goes after Chatham Kent Essex MPP Rick Nicholls today, advising that he “stay out of the pasture” on the abortion issue. Nicholls, realizing that he stepped in it when he sponsored a pro-life press conference at Queen’s Park attempts to calm voters by stating abortion “is a woman’s right.”
That would be great, were it true.
Rick has, on several occasions now, said that the hard right, pro-life group Campaign Life Coalition is a group who’s “values and principles” he says he shares. The CLC’s values and principles are to eliminate a woman’s right to choose.
When WTW asked Nicholls if he agrees with the Campaign Life Coalition’s push to defund abortion he says this:
“It’s a question of, is the taxpayers’ money being used appropriately? In that sense, if people still want to have abortions, and there may those that can’t afford it and I get that and they may need help… if they need funding, if they need help… assistance… then that’s a different situation I suppose.”
So, which is it Rick?
Earlier, the Toronto Star’s Greg Crone mused on Twitter that my boyfriend, Warren Kinsella, should consider running to replace Dalton McGuinty.
So, to put an end to such crazy talk, here are the top 10 reasons why he shouldn’t:
- He’s in a punk rock bank called Shit From Hell.
- The reduction in income would mean he’d have to reduce his diner food intake.
- He would almost certainly start a fist fight with a Conservative opponent in a debate.
- He prefers dark, dirty bars for punk shows to brightly lit committee meeting rooms.
- Some people have skeletons in their closest. His closet looks like Jurassic Park.
- He likes telling politicians what to do, not being one.
- He doesn’t take direction well.
- He’s called Winkie, the Prince of Darkness and the Dark Lord. I call him Babe. None are suitable for a potential premier.
- I wouldn’t allow it.
- If you had to choose between watching your kids grow up, and watching Tim Hudak try and form a coherent sentence, what would you choose?
I’ve heard that Deb Matthews, Kathleen Wynne, Laurel Broten and Sandra Pupatello are all considering a run to replace outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty. The usual suspects too, off course. But I think this leadership contest, at least, may be dominated by women. Interesting times, indeed.
Last night, while at the Sun TV studio, I wondered if anyone will ever be charged in this tragic case. She was just a child and someone, perhaps the guy named by Anonymous, was allegedly blackmailing her and ultimately circulating topless photos of her 12- or 13-year-old self. Which is, quite clearly, the distribution of child pornography.
Allegations have been made of blackmailing, tormenting and stalking this little girl. Someone deserves to pay and Amanda’s family deserves justice.
You how some days don’t end how you think they will? Today was one of those days.
I’m a huge Dalton fan, and not just because I’m a Liberal (or a liberal), but because of the following (to name but a few):
- He’s a genuinely kind and thoughtful human being. People will comment about the loyalty of those around Dalton – that loyalty is because he inspires it. This is rare.
- He is a brilliant politician, both at leading and at winning. Every time he was counted out, he came back. Every single time.
- He’s authentic. Lots of politicians try to fake it and it never works out. You know the ones, like the guy who spent a large part of his life in an ivory tower and then thinks that wearing a plaid shirt and dropping his ‘g’s will get him the top job (not that I’m referring to a specific person here or anything). That’s not Dalton. Everything about him is real.
Tonight we spent date night at the Sun studios in Toronto talking about what Dalton may do next. As everyone in politics knows, never say never. I don’t know if he’s going to run for federal liberal leader, but I sure hope so.