Tag Archive: Ontario Politics

Exile on Mainstreet

So, that Mainstreet poll.

On the one hand, I like its founder and the people who work there. My firm has used them in the past.

When the Lavscam scandal broke, however, Mainstreet’s boss took it upon himself to – for lack of a better word – troll each and every opinion I offered on the scandal. In particular, he repeatedly asserted that Lavscam would have little to no effect on Liberal fortunes.

By now, of course, we all know that that is simply not true. Lavscam precipitated a dramatic decline in Liberal support, and the Trudeau Grits have not really recovered.

On the other hand, however, I think we need to take Mainstreet’s latest poll somewhat seriously. It is consistent with a commissioned poll done by Environics, and an earlier poll done by Don Guy’s Pollara, and one that speculated about the effect of a John Tory-led Ontario Liberal party.

But most of all, it reflects what my gut has been telling me for some time – that the Ford folks need to get back the narrative that got them elected nearly a year ago.

It’s a debate that I had with Jerry Agar on Newstalk 1010 early Wednesday morning. There’s no doubt, I said, that Kathleen Wynne’s regime spent recklessly in the final half of its mandate. Equally, there is no doubt that Ford was elected with a clear mandate to cut back on same.

The problem, I told Jerry, is that the cuts lack a coherent underlying story. I reminded him that my boss Jean Chretien oversaw the largest program of government restraint in Canadian history, way back in 1994 and 1995. Chretien pulled that off, and then some. And he was subsequently reelected with a majority.

Ontarians understand that there is a need for cuts. What they clearly don’t understand is why the Ford government is doing them. People are prepared to accept lots of belt-tightening – but you need to be able to tell them why, in 30 words or less.

It’s not too late for the Ford folks to find that short, sharp narrative.

But they need to do so soon, or they may end up being exiled on Mainstreet.


Tory is the best Grit

Here’s a poll that will rock Toronto and Ontario politics. And it is not a bad idea. At all.

Full story here.

It could take a Tory to topple the Tories and lead the Liberals back to power, a new poll suggests.

Toronto Mayor John Tory, a former Progressive Conservative leader who left that party five years ago, would be the front-runner in the undeclared Ontario Liberal leadership race, the Corbett Communications survey found.

While Premier Doug Ford’s Conservatives would win an election held now with 35 per cent support — ahead of the Liberals at 27 per cent, the NDP at 25 per cent, and the Greens at 12 per cent — a Tory candidacy for the Grits could jolt the political landscape.

“He changes the whole dynamic for everybody,” veteran pollster John Corbett said Tuesday.

Those surveyed were asked “which one of the following potential candidates would you be most likely to support for the Ontario Liberal Party.”

Tory was at 41 per cent, compared to Liberal MPPs Mitzie Hunter and Marie-France Lalonde at 4 per cent apiece and former minister Steven Del Duca and MPP Michael Coteau at 3 per cent each. 

Of the remaining respondents, 36 per cent were undecided and 9 per cent preferred “another candidate.”

In a general election scenario, the Liberals led by Tory were at 32 per cent, compared to Ford’s Conservatives tied with Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats at 27 per cent apiece and Mike Schreiner’s Greens at 12 per cent.


Brampton mayoral candidate Patrick Brown in pictures

The collage is worth a thousand words, as they say.

There’s more of this sort of thing out there, I’m told.

After revelations like that blockbuster Globe and Mail story – which suggested he had schemed to get a big payment from a man who would get a coveted PC nomination shortly thereafter – I don’t know why he persists in running for anything. It makes no sense.

Brampton, I would expect, is about to remind him why.


You won’t read all about this one in the Toronto Star

Story by QP Briefing, which has been repeatedly breaking stories lately, here:

When PC Leader Doug Ford was the only party leader who declined to participate in a Toronto debate organized by Black community organizers, the Liberals criticized him as being out-of-touch.

In social media copy that was also shared by some Liberal riding accounts, the party stated: “Doug Ford says he ‘loves the blacks’ but wasn’t at the Town Hall tonight… Did Doug Ford deliberately choose to ignore the black community leaders debate? #ONBlackVote #WhereIsDoug #onpoli”

There is one problem with this statement: QP Briefing cannot find any record of Doug claiming that he “loves the Blacks,” a phrasing that would be considered offensive.

We asked the Liberal Party to provide a reference to where we could find this quotation, and they conceded it was an error.

“It appears the tweet accidentally referred to Doug when it should have said Trump,” David Clarke, executive director of the Ontario Liberal Party, said in an e-mail on Monday night. “We’ve corrected the error and are working to ensure accuracy to re-issue it.”

Best part of the story? They then went on to issue a new tweet, which contained a new error.

None of this would be happening if Warren Kinsella was still alive.


And they spent $650,000 on the Ontario Cannabis Store logo, too!



This is how they think they’ll win? With puerile tweets like this?

Here’s a fact, Wizard War Room: Kathleen Wynne, who is a smart person who you continually embarrass with crap like this, is – post-legalization – going to become the biggest seller of cannabis in North America.

But, by all means, keep aiming for third place. The PCs and the NDP are cheering you on, every step of the way.


Fish where there’s fish


…that’s something I say so much about campaigns that my staff have heard it a billion times. Talk about the stuff voters want you to talk about. Manage the dialogue.Thus, this from Campaign Research:

“The PCs have a significant lead over both the OLP and the ONDP. This is because the policy issues that matter the most to the electorate also happen to be the policy planks that Doug Ford is seen to be performing much better on. If Doug Ford and the PCs remain focused on these policy planks, the PCs could hold onto their lead…Kathleen Wynne and the OLP are outperforming in a significant way on some of the policy planks, but at this point those policy planks are not seen as being as important.”  – said Eli Yufest, CEO of Campaign Research Inc.

So, ipso facto, the current situation: Doug Ford is way ahead of Kathleen Wynne because he’s talking about the issues people care about. Wynne, not so much.

That’s also reflected in the latest Angus Reid, seen here.

Which brings to mind an anecdote from a few months back, when various Ontario Liberal folks were getting plenty nervous. A couple meetings were convened, at which the Ontario Liberal leader and her “chief strategist” described how they would win.

Basically, they told the assembled Nervous Nellies that, if they talked a lot about the sex-ed curriculum and stuff like that, they’d do smashingly. But no one, I’m told, asked this question: “But what if the campaign is about affordability and our perceived indifference to regular folks who don’t drive Volvos and listen to CBC and live in the Annex?”

Of such things are victories made. The other guy’s.

When you talk about stuff people don’t care about it…well, you know what happens then.



What to do when a hatemonger says he supports you

Simple.

You reject his support. And then you denounce him the clearest terms.

To put a fine point on it: Kevin J. Johnston is a notorious Muslim-hating bigot who has been charged with hate crimes. Doug Ford must denounce him and reject his support – now.

More about Johnston’s hate charges here.

Doug Ford needs to address this right now. It is the kind of thing that will sink his campaign. And deservedly so.


Did Patrick Brown scheme to sell off candidate spots?

And did he plot to put the resulting many thousands in his own pocket?

Check out this stunner Globe and Mail story. It is simply incredible. .

Former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown was in talks to sell an interest in a restaurant he partially owns and some Aeroplan miles for $375,000 to a man who went on to become a Tory candidate, documents show.

An affidavit detailing a deal was sworn five months before Jass Johal was acclaimed as the candidate for the PC Party in a new riding in the suburban 905 region around Toronto. According to a copy of the affidavit shown to The Globe and Mail, Mr. Johal, a paralegal who lives in Brampton, says he agrees to purchase two million Aeroplan miles and an ownership interest in Hooligans restaurant from Mr. Brown for $375,000. “The amount is paid by certified draft from Bank of Nova Scotia,” says the affidavit dated June 11, 2016 and signed by Mr. Johal.

… Other documents The Globe has seen, including bank statements, show that Mr. Brown deposited $375,000 into his personal account at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce one month after the affidavit was signed, on July 11, 2016. Later that month, property records show he purchased a waterfront house on Lake Simcoe’s Shanty Bay for $2.3-million. He took out a mortgage of $1.72-million from Toronto-Dominion Bank, according to public mortgage documents.

…[Mr. Brown] declined to answer a question about why the amount agreed to in the sworn affidavit was exactly the same as the deposit a month later into his personal account.

Is Patrick Brown a crook?

We shall see. But I know there is one thing he isn’t, and should never be:

A member of the legislature.