09.19.2011 06:29 AM

In today’s Hill Times: the three men who hurt Tim Hudak the most

Tim made a brief reference to the Ontario race. Since that contest hasn’t been covered so much in these pages—and since the political significance of Jack Layton’s passing has been covered extensively—let me offer some perspectives on federal politics from inside the Ontario Liberal war room.

For those who still cling to the view that Stephen Harper is a Master Strategist, take my word for it—he isn’t. In fact, if Ontario Tea Party leader Tim Hudak loses on Oct. 6—and I believe he will—Harper is one of the three federal Conservatives who will share the blame.

Just a few weeks ago, you see, Harper and his hangers-on journeyed to Toronto for a back-slappin’, good-ol’-boy Conservative barbecue with far-right Toronto mayor Rob Ford. There, as someone videotaped the proceedings, Harper called for a Conservative “hat trick”—in effect, so that the same conservative cabal would run the province, the GTA, and the country.

Harper’s remarks were a disaster. The PMO scrambled, comically, to scrub the evidence from the internet, but it was too late. Ontario voters—female voters, in particular—saw what he said, and they didn’t like it. Hudak started a downward slide from which he has not recovered. Ontarians do not want the same wrecking crew running everything.

The second federal Conservative to hammer Hudak’s chances was Harper crony, and MP, Scott Reid. With his immense personal wealth, Reid bankrolled a coup against progressive Ontario PCs, and helped finance his Ontario Landowner Association pals Randy Hillier and Jack MacLaren. With Reid’s help, Hillier and MacLaren split the Ontario PCs into two warring camps. And Hudak’s inability—or unwillingness—to deal with the resulting rebellion led to his two predecessors, Ernie Eves and John Tory, to denounce the Ontario PCs. The party is now like the federal Conservatives in 1993—Reformers on one side, and truly progressive Conservatives on the other. Both sides despise each other.

The third federal Conservative to play a role in the destruction of Hudak—who, remember, had a double-digit lead over my party for a year—was his campaign manager, tobacco lobbyist Mark Spiro. Spiro, who advertised the fact that he was a member of Harper’s war room, approved the disastrous anti-“foreigner” strategy that has laid waste to PC fortunes in Toronto, Ottawa, London, Windsor, and anywhere else with a significant ethnic demographic. Seeing his party’s fortunes crumble, Spiro has frantically tried to erase the anti-immigrant xenophobia, but—so far—it hasn’t worked. One poll has placed the PCs in third place in Toronto.

There are still two weeks to go in the Ontario race, and we provincial Liberals are running like we are way behind. We will be relentless.

But if we get the honour of a third term, I believe that it is three federal Conservatives—Harper, Reid and Spiro—who will have helped us do it.



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    Thomas Jefferson says:

    A couple quotes from Mr Jefferson that apply here in Canada and to all people who are born free.

    “Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct.”

    “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

    “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.”

    “Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.”

    This is the most important one of them all. This holds true no matter where you live, or what country you reside in.

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. “

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    Jackson says:

    I still don`t get it.
    Why, in your fourth paragraph, do you mention that ” female voters, in particular……didn`t like it ” ?
    Do you think female voters are too weak to understand partisan politics ?
    When women saw the partisan politics practised by the Liberals over the years, do you think they were too weak and sensitive to understand what was going on ?
    I think you have some splanin to do Lucy.

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      Dan says:

      Polls show that female voters are less likely to vote conservative (and Conservative).

      Polls showed these voters moving from the Liberal Party to the NDP at the federal level. The proverbial “orange crush”.

      I’m sure similar polls showed that female voters are disproportionately responsible for Teabag Tim’s “blue choke”.

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    Dan says:

    There are two Steven Harpers.

    One is the highly disciplined campaigner, who sold Canada a Martin-Liberal platform of lower taxes and pro-business reform, with a bunch of local investments, and a pledge to continue funding public health care.

    The other is the Steven Harper who truly believes this is a conservative country suffocating under the weight of a failed European welfare state, that yearns to be more like our economically successful neighbor to the south. The one who spent more than a decade getting kicked around by Chretien, and getting shut out anywhere West of Ontario.

    The BBQ shows a glimpse of the second Harper. He only came out because he thought he was in front of a friendly audience after a huge victory.

    He’s probably been kicking himself ever since.

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      justin says:

      Economically successful neighbor? Bit of an oxymoron isn’t it?

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    Annie says:

    I read that in Toronto, they are neck and neck..is that true? I sure hope not.bill Davis should come out an say what he thinks….that would help..I am a liberal but had some rrespect for Bill Davis

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    Nadine Lumley says:

    Steve Harper, President, the Corporate Party of Canada

    Harper’s Neoconservatism: This entire “hard right” movement is a crock.

    It is not a religious evangelist movement or a moral movement. It is a corporate movement.


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      justin says:

      It’s true, Im always baffeled at the number of working Canadians who are ready to vote against their intrests.

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    steve says:

    Perhaps its political science 101 that you do not defend against conventional wisdom even when its wrong. The e health scandal was a result of Smartsystems set up by the Harris government and $400 million down when the Liberals took over. Then the Liberals poured another $500 million into this hole before pulling the plug, but the end result is some e health. The eco tax is not a tax, it is another Harris program where industry tries to tackle hazardous waste, no money goes to the government. Power prices have risen to a large part due to the Harris decision to privatize Hydro, and not invest in needed infrastructure. For sure Tea Party Tim will discover ” he has not alternative but to privatize Hydro and the LCBO.” In Alberta where this is already done, they pay almost double for hydro, and beer prices are the highest in Canada, in some cases $30 more for a case of 40. Remember the 407, and hold on to your wallets.

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    DL says:

    “I read that in Toronto, they are neck and neck..is that true?”

    Yes, its true that Liberals and NDP are neck and neck in Toronto according to the polls. The PCs face annhilation! 🙂

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    nic coivert says:

    Harper does have a tendency to ejaculate prematurely.

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    Weston says:

    You forgot Rob Ford. People in Toronto are viewing Hudak in the same light as Ford (who’s approval rating is a dismal 45% i believe). They don’t want anymore cuts to services.

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    TREX says:


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