Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2018/ Ontario PC Leadership Race

Ontario PC Leadership Race

Today the Ontario Progressive Conservatives elect a new leader. I am writing this before I know the results.

The previous leader was Patrick Brown. He was a surprise victor in the last leadership race, beating the expected winner Christine Elliott. Brown positioned himself as a moderate, Red Tory leader, in contrast to his predecessor Tim Hudak. He made a lot of people unhappy when he flip-flopped on the Liberal plan to redo the sex-education curriculum. He also advocated switching from Ontario's cap-and-trade system to a carbon tax. Other conservatives don't want either a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system, because either climate change is real or we ought not to be addressing it via government policy.

There are only a few months left until the next provincial election (I believe it is scheduled for June 6?). People are very unhappy with Kathleen Wynne (and I am too, but probably for different reasons). People saw the PCs as a shoo-in for the next election, so politician-wannabes fought fierce and acrimonious battles to secure provincial nominations.

Then all of a sudden allegations of sexual impropriety were levelled against Patrick Brown. He resigned as leader, and other party members threw him under the bus. They accused him of inflating membership numbers and of other corruption. They distanced themselves as far as possible from the leader who was supposed to be a shoo-in as the next Premier of Ontario. Then the PCs held a new leadership race, which ends today.

I have not been following the race closely. Most of what I know I heard from podcasts of The Agenda. On that show I listened to a debate between the four contenders for the position. Subsequent to that debate Patrick Brown re-entered the race, saying that his name had been cleared of the allegations. Then he dropped out again. That leaves us with four nominees: Tanya Granic Allen, Caroline Mulroney, Christine Elliott (again) and Doug Ford.

Man. What a tire fire. Based on the debate, here are my relatively uninformed opinions:

Tanya Granic Allen: She is the avowed social conservative of the group. She claims not to be a one-issue candidate, but she is obsessed with the sex-ed curriculum and could not answer basic questions unrelated to it, such as naming ONE OTHER change that needs to be made to Ontario's education system. If the PC party was ever to split into libertarians and social conservatives and fiscal conservatives, she would be right at home in the social conservative wing.

Oh, and her suggestions for reforming the sex-ed curriculum? She has none. She says she will consult with parents, which is fancy speak for "she has no ideas". In the meantime she would put the existing sex-ed curriculum on hold, which means that kids won't get sex education until she gets around to putting in a new system.

Caroline Mulroney: her father is Brian, and she is running on the strength of her father's name. She has no political experience, has never been an MP, and yet is running for a position that will very likely turn into the premiership. That's not going to work.

My guess is that she is running to lose, in the hopes that she will be rewarded with a cabinet spot (the same way most of the Ontario Liberal leadership candidates were rewarded during their last leadership race). Fair enough. I disagree with her talking points, but maybe she has potential. She came across as more thoughtful and better-spoken than your average political rookie.

I know it is harsh to say so, but let's name the elephant in the room: if it was not for her last name, nobody would be giving her a second look. She would be as much of a fringe candidate as Granic Allen.

And honestly Brian has not done much for his reputation since leaving office. He has been embroiled in scandals of his own. But nostalgia makes the heart grow fonder.

Christine Elliott: She is the establishment candidate. If she loses it will be a big scandal. Boy is she a politican, though. She is veering to the right so that people will not mistake her for a Red Tory. She is against a carbon tax (everybody is against a carbon tax in this race) even though she knows better. She can't go full Blue Tory, though. She still talks about health care and education a lot.

I dislike her because she is a backstabber. I am not referring to Patrick Brown's downfall (I have no evidence that she was involved, although I have my suspicions), but the way she has backstabbed Kathleen Wynne. After losing the leadership Elliott supposedly retired from politics. Kathleen Wynne's government awarded her a cushy job as patient ombudsman for Ontario. Subsequently, Elliott went on the record treating Wynne as if she was a colleague and a human being. Now she has nothing to say but ill for Wynne, and furthermore she does not even mention her old job other than to criticize the Liberals. That is hypocritical and backstabbing.

I cannot see her not winning this race. It is almost as if this leadership race is a sham intended to appoint Elliott to the position establishment Tories wanted her in from the beginning.

Doug Ford: Oh man. Some part of me wants him to win, but that part is evil. Fortunately, he won't win. He's like his late brother Rob, but without the charisma. Apparently he thinks he is still running to be Toronto mayor, because all of is talking points are about Toronto city council. And it is insane that on the one hand Patrick Brown lost his job because of sexual allegations, but on the other Doug Ford is allowed to run when there is SO MUCH DIRT on the Ford brothers.

One of these people is highly likely to become the next premier of Ontario. You're welcome.