, 02.27.2018 10:26 AM

Ten bold and boldface observations about Ontario politics

  1. Patrick Brown‘s entry into the PC leadership race meant chaos, controversy and Kathleen Wynne‘s likely re-election.  Now that’s he’s gone (again), an Ontario Liberal victory becomes a lot less certain.
  2. Eric Hoskins‘ sudden resignation is very bad news for Wynne, too.  He joins departing senior ministers like Brad Duguid, Liz Sandals and Deb Mathews, all of whom Wynne needed in a tough re-election battle – to help spread the Ontario Liberal gospel.
  3. That’s not to say that Hoskin’s riding is at risk.  Even if there is a grit-dammerung, and Ontario Liberals are wiped out province-wide, Hoskin’s old riding of St. Paul’s and Toronto Centre are safe. (Josh Matlow might put that prediction at risk, however.)
  4. Andrea Horwath is still in a witness protection program somewhere, and Wynne is still the main beneficiary.  As long as Horwath lets Wynne style herself as the only progressive choice in the race – just as Wynne did in 2014 – the Ontario Liberal leader remains competitive.
  5. Doug Ford continues to impress card-carrying PCs, and surprise journalists.  Everyone had expected that, by now, he would have pulled the pin on one or two verbal hand grenades, and swallowed them.  But he hasn’t. Ford’s been disciplined, genial and hard-working.  His smart campaign guru Michael Diamond deserves a lot of credit.
  6. Caroline Mulroney has greatly improved.  At the start of this abbreviated race, she was a political newbie, and it showed: she looked and sounded nervous and uncertain, and had a penchant for repeating talking points over and over.  In recent days, however, she’s stepped up her game – but many PCs are still saying (as party leadership partisans often do) “she’s my pick next time, not this time.”
  7. Christine Elliott has momentum.  Under the able guidance of Fred DeLorey, Elliott has acquired frontrunner status in this crazy-short campaign, and she’s showing a lot more energy than she did in 2009 and 2015’s PC races.  If Doug Ford doesn’t win on the first ballot – and that’s a tall, tall order for anyone – his support would mostly go to her.  She, I know, is the candidate the Ontario Grits fear the most.
  8. With the departure of Pat Sorbara, I’m told the infighting in the Ontario Liberal campaign team has stopped.  Under smart folks like Chad Walsh, Rebecca MacKenzie and Alexis Levine, Wynne’s campaign effort is looking stronger.  (The well-compensated Board members around her, meanwhile, are busily making quiet plans for their next political gigs – subtly burying Wynne prematurely, just as they did with Paul Martin.)
  9. Justin Trudeau presents a bit of a dilemma for Ontario Liberals.  A few short months ago, he would have been an asset to any provincial Grit campaign.  Now – following many months of controversies and missteps, most recently the Indian Imbroglio – the bloom is decidedly off the dauphin’s rose.  Expect to see him less on the hustings.
  10. The pollsters still say the Ontario PCs have the advantage – notwithstanding all the Patrick Brown-related scandal and controversy.  Personally, I think the PCs are well-advised to never, ever count out Kathleen Wynne – under that kindly, grandmotherly exterior, there is a spine of political steel.  Wynne, in my experience, will do whatever it takes to win.  PCs would be well-advised to avoid underestimating her yet again.


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    Dork in East York says:

    Warren, Toronto Centre is conspicuously missing a Liberal candidate/nominee. Hearing anything thru the grapevine?

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      Warren says:

      David Miller. They’re trying to get him to abandon his NDP past.

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        Adam says:

        Well, I guess if it worked for the Liberals before (see Glenn Thibeault), and it paid off despite their backroom machinations to install him as a candidate over all their own nominees, why not try it again?

        Miller would be foolish to jump into an election where the OLP are so widely hated, even if core Toronto seats are in relatively the least peril for the Liberals.

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        Robert White says:

        Party loyalty is overrated, frankly. I just dumped the PC Party for being too misogynistic and I figured the Liberal Party is likely the least misogynistic due to the fact that Liberals are the most educated cohort of the bunch that are interested in politics. My bet paid off as soon as I arrived at the first Liberal oriented blog I decided to check out.

        I just wasted 20 years with the PC Party, and it ended because they are a bunch of misogynists IMO. How anyone could belong to that party now is beyond moi.

        Educated people should stay away from that party until they learn to behave in a civilized manner. And I would never recommend that party for leadership of the legislature for the next term. They cannot be reformed overnight to lead the legislature. They have not earned the right to sit in opposition, and they have the largest contribution to their coffers in the history of the party. The party is in complete disarray and they have $16 million going into this election.

        Wynne has my vote and confidence for the next legislative session. Trudeau has my support for the next four years too.


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    Pedant says:

    Liz Sandals?


    Pretty sure the Libs are better off without her.

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    James Smith says:

    Re: #2 – While he seems to have been a pretty good minister, & I accept your take on loosing a minister this close to the election, I can only say I can’t forgive his double cross of my leadership candidate. I wish he had served notice a year or more ago.

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    James Smith says:

    Sorry & just wondered about #1 – What happens to supporters of Mr B? Was his “support” really a thing or was it all smoke being blown by his “Team”? If they exist, does his supporters go away mad, of do they just shrug & melt into the supporters of the other candidates?

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    Adam says:

    Re #4 — are you serious? Or are you just peddling the typical centrist/big-media narrative that only Liberals or Conservatives are worth listening to?

    Oh wait, the Star did have a fairly prominent article about her, I’m surprised you missed it:

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