11.10.2012 09:29 AM

Waterloo Record: Pupatello is the Ontario Liberals’ best chance


“The next Liberal leader has a mess to clean up, for sure. And if I were a member of the party, I’d be supporting Sandra Pupatello from Windsor.

Here’s why:
• She’s focused on the economy: Pupatello was a Liberal MPP for 16 years, and was in several Cabinet posts during that time, including economic development. She left politics to become director of business development and global markets for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. She is an expert on job creation from both sides, and that’s what Ontario needs.
• She’ll reclaim the political middle ground for the party. We’re living in divisive times, with a frighteningly high public debt and an economy that won’t rally. Times like this tend to polarize people, and draw them to the hard edge of the left and right wings of political thinking. But we need a strong voice for the middle ground. Pupatello is seen as coming from the right wing of the party, perhaps because of her corporate experience. She can draw the Liberals back to that unoccupied centrist territory.
• She’s smart, tough and together. I was education reporter for this paper, off and on, for 18 years and have seen a few education ministers pass through. Not one of them impressed like Pupatello. Her grasp of the issues was formidable, her passion for the topic was clear and her willingness to hold local boards accountable for continued student improvement was refreshing.
• Most of all, she is the person least associated with McGuinty. The Premier has been a lightning rod for the anger of Ontarians who are fed up with his policies. Anyone who was a member of his cabinet will be tainted by association, no matter how wonderful an individual he or she might be.

But Pupatello has been an outsider, and that’s all to her benefit. “He and I are very different,” she said recently about McGuinty. “We are different personalities, we look at things differently.”

If the Liberals elect her as leader, Pupatello will provide a fresh approach and a chance to claim the political middle ground. She’s the blood transfusion they desperately need.


  1. Mark Bourrie says:

    So are Pupatello supporters disowning McGuinty? I’d go get a copy of Plain Speaking and see what Harry Truman has to say about candidates who run for office while trying to disown the incumbents in their own party. It doesn’t go well.

  2. Craig says:

    It’s still not clear why Dalton suddenly resigned and relinquished the leadership of the Ontario Liberal government. He said he resigned to give the party and government a chance for new blood, new thinking, but that’s not a typical response for relinquishing power by a politician. Altruism or abandonment?

    Sandra may be inheriting a can of worms that she won’t be able to contain just because she is a new and promising face of the Liberal party. I fear that as leader, she will be overburdened by the sins of the past and the looming disaster that is likely to befall Ontario manufacturing as the Obama Buy American policy kicks in plus their ‘fiscal cliff’ induced recession.

    I suspect Ontario is in for a wild ride economically, and the next premier had better have strong economic and social leadership for the coming difficulties.

  3. James Smith says:

    Thing is, to some a can of worms is just a mess, not worth picking up. To others it’s the start of
    a great fishing trip.

  4. Jon Evan says:

    Your word “chance” is appropriate to describe the future of Ontario’s Liberals :)! Yes, all they have left is luck.
    But, like the US election has demonstrated it will all depend on the Opposition. Presently, it is not credible. Like the americans the people of Ontario may not be in favor of swinging right in the face of a weak economy! Only a party that helps out workers maintaining productivity will improve the economy longer term.

    • Watson says:

      Working taxpayers may not agree with you because they may not want to share their security with the unemployed.

      There will undoubtedly be an election this spring once the Legislature is reconvened with a newly-minted Liberal leader and Premier. The Opposition will unite to vote no confidence in the ex-McGuinty government.

      Unfortunately for the Opposition, an election will wash all of the Liberal sins away and it will be a contest of leadership. With a strong female leader like Pupatello, the Liberals may well win another majority.

  5. Jon Evan says:

    Only if the opposition is stupid learning nothing from the US election! Ontario like the US has changed and may not be like it was in the days of the Harris gov’t. The economy and unemployment rate in Ontario is similar to the US and can be easily blamed on the Liberals, but it’s the sol’n that will contrast the parties and of course people are scared so whomever can soft pedal will win!

  6. Bloody Bounder says:

    Dear Warren et al,

    1} Do you think Gerard Kennedy will seek the leadership of the OLP?

    2} Would you say Sandra Pupatello is to the right or left of Dalton McGuinity?

    I am still patiently waiting for these questions to be answered!

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