, 05.09.2018 01:13 PM

Ontario Campaign 2018 begins!

And here, to celebrate, is a snippet from my column next week:

Doug Ford – who I know and like, full disclosure – is not a professional politician.  He may have been a city councillor for a single term, but he is as far from a professional politician as one can get.  He does not have anywhere near the experience that Ontario Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne and Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath have.  Not even close.

Unlike the other two, he has never led a political party before.  Unlike the other two, he has never ruled a caucus before.  Unlike the other two, he has never participated in a leader’s debate before last Monday.

But he’s still winning, and he’s winning.  Media polls even suggest he has a twenty-point lead.  Internal party polling, meanwhile, suggests that the Grits are heading towards third party status.  And perhaps no party status at all.

How could such a thing happen to the once-mighty Ontario Liberal machine?  Three reasons.  One, Kathleen Wynne needed to take a walk in the proverbial snow way back in 2017.  Two, the Grits needed to jettison the profligate Martinite crew around Wynne – the ones who destroyed the federal Liberal party a decade ago.  Three, they needed to be infused with new blood and new faces. 

They didn’t do any of those things.

Traditional political campaigns do not work against populists. 

Populists possess an extraordinary magical power: they are able to transform an attack on them into an attack on those who support them.  And that is why virtually everything Kathleen Wynne said to Doug Ford in that first leaders’ debate last week – that he doesn’t understand how government works, that he doesn’t have experience, that he doesn’t get it, that he is out of his depth, blah blah blah – ricocheted off of him and onto the unhappy people who support him.  And thereby wedded them more closely to their man, Doug Ford.

An attack on Doug Ford, you see, is an attack on them


  1. Pipes says:

    Hmmm. The pic looks to me that, Wynne is saying “goodbye” and ready to break out in a vaudevillian-type exit tap dance.

    Doug, who I do like, looks like he is getting ready to be called in for his prostate exam and Andrea looks like she is waiting for the Lottery Number to be called.

  2. Jeff says:

    I didn’t even like Stephen Harper much in 2004, and he certainly isn’t a populist but the Martin campaign was a disaster. After Martin came over as very flat, and performed very poorly on his feet, his campaign went for the scorched earth approach. I was actually considering voting for Martin until his campaign told me they didn’t want the vote of small c conservatives like me. In fact, people like me aren’t even Canadian.

    That seems to be how these guys operate.

  3. MitchB says:

    We just saw Doug kicking off his campaign in Renfrew – an Ottawa valley town. The place was packed- that means maybe 1000 people. I’m actually impressed with Ford, and his campaign team. His ad libs were funny. Very respectful and engaging. Photo ops galore.

    • Robert White says:

      I know people in Renfrew, and I have known them for decades.
      The people of Renfrew live in a political bubble just like Doug Ford does, and that’s why someone like Doug Ford would hit it off with the folks of Renfrew & the County of Renfrew.

      Don’t get me wrong here because the people of Renfrew are the salt of the Earth, and so is Doug I’m sure, but ignorant country folks like ignorant city folks when it comes to Finance & Denial.

      Lastly, no town in CANADA has more per-capita pickup trucks than Renfrew. Renfrew is 75% rednecks n’ pickup trucks.

      Bottom line is that rednecks in Renfrew don’t traditionally vote Liberal, and I sincerely doubt that they even know what a Social Scientist is because they spend most of their time killing Bullwinkle & trapping Rocky in their spare time.

      Renfrew is politics lite, and that’s why a guy like Ford can hit it out of the park in Renfrew County.

      • Peter says:

        Don’t get me wrong here…

        Why would we do that? It’s not like you’re stereotyping or anything. I think we all recognize serious sociological analysis when we see it. And I must say it’s gracious of you to describe the stupid rednecks as salt of the earth. It’s comforting to see you clever beautiful people believe in Noblesse Oblige.

        Say, would you know whether they lead the country in per capita purchases of plastic Jesus’s to hang from the mirrors of all those pick-up trucks?

        • JH says:

          Right on Peter. It’s that kind of superior attitude from what Ibbotson & Bricker call the Laurentian elites & the downtown latte drinkers that kills their candidates in many elections.

          • Peter says:

            I love it when Toronto types describe folks in the rest of the province as living in a bubble.

        • Robert White says:

          No, but they do lead the country in per capita purchases of large imitation rubber testicles that they hang from the rear axels of their pickup trucks if that’s any help?

          P.S. I did not characterize the rednecks as ‘stupid’, eh.


          • Fred from BC says:

            Actually, they hang those from the trailer hitches (and you spelled ‘axle’ wrong)…

      • billg says:

        Having a coffee right now reading Mr Whites ridiculous comments and bordering on racist remarks in a small bistro on a street in Pembroke. The avenue is lined with cars, family’s are out shopping and heading to breakfast, the corner where the tatoo parlour sits has 6 people outside vaping, 3 young men have piercings and Mohawk style haircuts, 2 have guitars with them, waiting for Bob’s Music store to open I guess, one is an older gentleman who has a shirt and tie on…hes just vaping. A few trucks but mostly SUVs and mid sized cars. I guess what I’m saying is why don’t you take your unprogressive attitude towards a community that pretty much mirrors every small community in Canada and Fuck Off Mr White. No room in Canada for your kind of hate. This is why I love free speech, you’ve outed yourself Mr White.

        • Robert White says:

          The Prior is a satellite bedroom community of Ottawa. Renfrew is a real country town in Ontario whereas Arnprior is a suburb of Ottawa, and is included in our tax base.

          Renfrew has way more pickup trucks than the suburb of Arnprior.


      • Warren says:

        You win the intolerant comment of the week award

  4. RKJ says:

    I note the colour of K Wynne’s dress – white. White, I understand, symbolizes bad luck in the Asian community.

    • Peter says:

      It’s quite the sartorial display all around. Ford looks like a plumber who has put on a suit for his daughter’s wedding for the first time in twenty years. Horwath is all decked out for an afternoon shopping spree at K-Mart. Wynne is imitating Joan Rivers getting ready for a daytime talk show appearance. We Canadians are on the cutting edge of modern fashion for sure.

    • Pedant says:

      White was a preferred colour for Hillary’s pantsuits as well.

  5. Derek Pearce says:

    I know you HATE the Martinites (and understand why) but you’re a little optimistic re both Doug’s chances at a victory and it being an overwhelming victory here methinks. Not that the Libs aren’t toast.

    My money’s on Horwath.

    • Fred from BC says:

      Yes, because when it comes to financial acumen and economic strength, one just naturally thinks ‘NDP’, right?

  6. Alan Smithee says:

    It looks like your friend Jess Spindler may become Ontario Liberal leader a few years earlier than expected. Especially if she and Nathalie Des Rosiers are the only survivors.

    Actually, if things keep going as they have, your friend Sandra Pupatello may have to take over the reins by the weekend. Have you ever tried to run a campaign with a candidate at a net -51% approval? Brutal.

  7. Fred from BC says:

    “Traditional political campaigns do not work against populists. ”

    That quote should be framed and hanging on the wall of every political strategist everywhere…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *