01.14.2013 08:31 AM

Pupatello’s big weekend, and the curse of Toronto

Here’s Radwanski in the Globe:

“Either Sandra Pupatello exceeded her own expectations, or she did a good job of lowering everyone else’s.

The Ontario Liberal leadership candidate who came into the weekend saying she would be happy to place second in preliminary voting instead emerged with the lead, claiming 27 per cent of the more than 1,800 delegates elected to attend their party’s convention later this month. That puts her two percentage points above Kathleen Wynne, who conversely raised expectations last week by enticing erstwhile candidate Glen Murray to drop out of the race and endorse her.

The effect, particularly given her strong support among the 400-plus party elites who will automatically be granted delegate status, is to establish Ms. Pupatello as the frontrunner in the race to replace Premier Dalton McGuinty. How much that means depends largely on the judgment of a clump of candidates, running well behind her and Ms. Wynne, who seem destined to be also-rans.

Gerard Kennedy, in third with 14 per cent of delegates, probably does not have the broad appeal that could make him a real contender on the convention floor. The same is even more true of Harinder Takhar, despite a head-turning performance this weekend which left him narrowly trailing Mr. Kennedy with 13 per cent. Meanwhile, disappointing returns have made the prospects extremely dim for Charles Sousa (11 per cent) and non-existent for Eric Hoskins (6 per cent).”

What really happened? Well, nothing’s official, as there is still some counting and re-counting to do. But, bottom line, Pupatello won, and she won big.

She had said at the start of the race that, once the delegates were selected, she expected no more than to be in the middle of the pack. She was telling the truth. That’s what she, and we, expected.  None of us expected her to be at the front of the pack after the so-called LEMs.

Something happened, however. Lots of Ontario Liberals are speculating what that might be. Personally, I think it’s this:

The Curse of Toronto.

Being from Calgary – and having lived in B.C. and Quebec – I can personally testify to the fact that the rest of the country loves to hate Toronto.  That may be mean, that be unfair, but they mostly do.

But so, too, does the rest of Ontario.  I’ve lived in Ottawa and Kingston, and the only parcel of land I own on this Earth is a rocky patch in rural Ontario.  It has no cell phone coverage, no wireless, no garbage pickup, no nothing.  Thus, you’re forced to talk to your neighbours.  And, to a one, they all say that Toronto is a nice place to visit.  But they’d hate to live here.  And, if you get a couple beers in them, they’ll say they hate Toronto.  Too crowded, too busy, too noisy, too dangerous, they say. (They’re wrong, but that’s what they think.)

Until last night, the OLP leadership frontrunner was Kathleen Wynne.  She is a thoughtful, smart, decent person.  She’s terrific.

But she is also from deepest Toronto, and – clearly, to many OLP members – she embodies Toronto.  Now, that really shouldn’t matter, but it does.  Every card-carrying Grit is aware of the fact that, in all of Ontario’s history, there has really been only one Premier from downtown Toronto.

That’s not a fluke; there’s a reason for it.  In the rest of the province – and in the rest of the country, since the beginning of time – folks have had quite enough of downtown Toronto telling them how to live their lives.  They want someone to be their representative in Toronto, not someone who simply represents Toronto to them.

I’ve been wrong many times before, but I think that’s what happened this weekend.  What’s your take?

(Oh, and congrats, Pupatello!)


  1. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    WDM says:

    Is all the voting happening on the Saturday? Or are they doing the first ballot on Friday night?

  2. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Ken Tufts says:

    Doesn’t George Drew from High Park count as Toronto? And Bob Rae from York South does? I think that makes two. Still, as a former Ottawa and Muskoka resident I think the anti-Toronto thing is true.

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      CQ says:

      Bill Davis, Brampton.
      Do outside of Toronto citizens ever make the distinction between city and adjacent suburbs? Look to recent election results. Liberal support is often strongest from the suburbs than from the NDP’s centric downtown ‘fortress’ Toronto core.

  3. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Kevin says:

    You may have a point, but I don’t think that’s all of it. I support Sandra because I like her ideas, I like her dynamism and I think she’s a winner. The fact she’s not from Toronto doesn’t enter into it.

  4. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    james curran says:

    Well thank goodness the Liberal Party is still controlled by Toronto-centric 10 St. Mary’s. Wouldn’t want to lose the handle on things.

  5. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Skinny Dipper says:

    I do think that Sandra Pupatello will win the Liberal leadership. She will need to work with the Ontario teachers’ unions before the next provincial election or else the unions and their teacher-members will campaign for the NDP. The first thing she needs to do is to re-arrange the existing cabinet currently under McGuinty. That means moving Laurel Broten to a different position. She won’t get teachers suddenly start to participate in extra-curriculars. However, if she can get active negotiations going with the unions, then the unions may play down the rhetoric against extra-curriculars. However, an agreement will be needed before the next election.

    All of this doesn’t mean that if things go well, the teachers will campaign for Pupatello and the Liberals. It does mean that the teachers won’t campaign as actively against the Liberals.

  6. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Peter says:

    A similar phenomenon can be observed in Quebec, where resentment of Montreal is common. Not sure, but I don’t think too many Quebec premiers hailed from Montreal.

    It’s not as imaginary or symbolic as Torontonians would like to believe. Ask any lawyer (or even judge) outside Toronto about the condescending attitude of Toronto lawyers that comes through even when they are trying to hide it. People with friends in Toronto and Montreal are quite aware of the fact the friendship survives because they travel to visit them, not the reverse. Ask any sports fan about having to live through ten times as much TV sports analysis about the pathetic Leafs as about other superior Canadian teams. Besides, didn’t Ford’s victory signal not even your own suburbs can stand too much of you?

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      The Doctor says:

      Totally true about the Leafs. AND the f*cking Raptors, even though most normal Canadians couldn’t care less about basketball. TSN = the Toronto Sports Network.

      • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
        Peter says:

        Just after the Meech Lake and Charlottetown debacles, I met up with an old Toronto friend I hadn’t seen in years. He had done well for himself and headed up a successful consulting venture with a lot of government business. Our whole encounter was pretty much given over to his agitated fretting about how the country was about to blow up and how we had to “do something” to save it–and fast. I suddenly had this vision of hordes of beautiful people in fancy Bloor & Yonge restaurants frantically writing out creative draft constitutions on their napkins (taking everybody’s interests into account fairly, of course) in order to solve a crisis they were certain the rest of us were too slow to understand. When I suggested no meant no and we would be better advised to let matters sit for a time, he reacted as if he were the city mouse barely able to control his impatience with the naive country mouse.

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      frmr disgruntled Con now Happy Lib says:

      Well the CN tower is the exact centre of the Universe isn’t it?………;)

      • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
        dave says:

        Manitobans have Winnipeg, BCers have Van, – Albertans, though, have a bit of choice, as to Saskatchewaneros.

        (Decades ago, checking into a hotel in Toronto, put down the name of the small town in Manitoba I lived in. The clerk looked at the town name, then at me, quizzically.
        “Small place, not many of us live there.” I explained.
        “That’s not surprising,” he answered.)

  7. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Mike says:

    Since when is Don Valley West “downtown Toronto”?

    • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
      Warren says:

      Well, go ahead and tell people it’s Bancroft, then. Good luck with that.

      • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
        Corey says:

        If Don Valley West is not downtown Toronto from the eyes of a Torontonian, it certainly is to the eyes of anyone else in Ontario. Point is, Kathleen Wynne represents “downtown Toronto” in terms of the political culture.

        I actually don’t think the electorate in general would have a problem with this, but I do think it prevents someone like Wynne from properly understanding the rest of the province. Being from Windsor, Sandra should be better equipped to understand the broader Ontario electorate than her Toronto/Mississauga competitors. That’s why she’s the better choice (there are other reasons too).

      • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
        Mike says:

        Until amalgamation, parts of that riding weren’t even in Toronto at all, let alone “downtown”.

        • Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
          Nicole says:

          I grew up outside of Windsor and moved to Toronto but I can tell you that to anyone not in the GTA, “Toronto” includes not only the city proper but Mississauga, Ajax, and anything that is GTA really. Amalgamation did not make a difference to them because no one outside of that area really knew where the hell Etobicoke or North York was located anyway. It was all 416 and thus Toronto. The mindset outside of the GTA is that the government, both federal and provincial, gives “Toronto” what they want and ignores them. That may or may not be true, but it might explain why Sandra was more aggressive in government, because Windsor often feels like Ontario (and Canada) ended at London.

  8. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Michael says:


    I was born, raised and lived most of my life in Toronto. Ten years ago I moved to rural Ontario. I could never understand this “anti-Toronto” sentiment, until this last week. Dealing with OLP staff (who are terrific) trying to get volunteers and organize our LEM, I could tell they just did not get the situation we are in in rural Ontario.

    I supported and endorsed Kathleen because as Warren said “She is a thoughtful, smart, decent person” However I can tell you that I was in a minority in my riding, and absolutely the reason many did not vote for her was beacuse she was from Toronto. Whereas Sandra was seen as “one of us” from SW Ont.

    I don’t like it or agree with it, but it is what it is, and it is reality.

  9. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Reuben says:

    My superficial comment on The Next Ten Years topic thread:

    “Reuben says:
    January 13, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    My concern is that the OLP, as well as the PC and NDP, are Toronto-centric when it comes to leadership. Pupatello is from Windsor and we are becoming regionalized and almost tribal in our voting patterns. I hope the OLP will make a wise choice for their next leader and if they don’t it may well be 10 years in the wilderness, and Ontarians will suffer.”

    Deja vu all over again, or did I hit the nail on the head… 🙂

  10. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Bloody Bounder says:

    Here is an interesting analysis of how the OLP leadership vote may unfold.


  11. Notice: Undefined offset: 180 in /home/q84jy4qfdyhq/public_html/wp-content/themes/warroom/functions.php on line 314
    Josef says:

    All Sandra Pupatello has to do is show up.

    This was game over from the moment she announced. Lady Churchill IS Back


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.