Musings —10.21.2012 03:35 PM—
With a $50,000 entry fee, and a $500,000 spending limit – and, most of all, an end-of-January leadership convention – the Ontario Liberal executive is seeking to discourage minor candidates. They are also signalling that we need a leader with name recognition; there’s no time, now, for someone to get better-known – particularly with Christmas landing in the middle of this thing. Smart move, on both counts.
So who should we pick?
Before I offer up my handy five-point guide, gratis, I should observe that – for a lot of us – this leadership stuff is happening really, really fast. Less than a week ago, we had Dalton McGuinty, the winningest Liberal Premier in a Century. Less than a week later, he’s said that he’s resigning, and it’s left a lot of Ontario Liberals in shock. It has been a hard time, a sad time.
Filling his shoes is a tall order, and there should be no doubt about that. But I believe that, if we’re smart, we can pick a leader who will win the next election, which now seems certain to be in 2013.
In my many conversations with Ontario Liberals, I’ve asked them five questions. Answered right, the questions all point in the direction of one person, and one person only.
Here they are.
- Do you agree that, with the right leader and a lot of hard work, we can win the next provincial election – with a proven winner, someone who has never lost an election?
- Okay, you got that right. But that’s easy. So who do you think is the leader and the party that represents the greatest threat to Ontario Liberal fortunes?
- That’s right, Andrea Horwath’s NDP. Tim Hudak’s PCs are a rural rump; Hudak is highly unpopular; and his pals, like Rob Ford and Stephen Harper, have hurt him plenty. So, against Horwath, do we need yet another male leader, or a scrappy, smart woman?
- That’s right, we need an agent of change, and a female leader is the literal embodiment of that, in today’s male-dominated politics. It’s time; it’s the right thing to do. The amazing Alison Redford showed the country just that, in the most conservative province in the country, too. So do we not need a scrappy, smart woman who knows how to beat the NDP, and has plenty of experience doing that, in election after election?
- Of course we do. Now, in the past year, we have seen that a lot of voters like the Liberal government’s direction, but not so much the way in which things have been done. So, the final question: do we also not need that leader who has been far from the controversies and difficulties of the past year that have – sadly, perhaps unfairly – hurt the fortunes of every member of cabinet?
The answers to those questions are all pretty obvious, when you reflect on them. And they all suggest that only one person can win this thing, and win big.
Will she do it? I don’t know.
But if she does, me – and a lot of other folks – will be with her.
(Now, comment away. I’m interested to see what you folks think, as always.)