The Ontario Liberals did it to themselves last night. Premier Kathleen Wynne’s minions ran a pathetic campaign to let Ontario’s embarrassment have a seat in the legislature. Last we heard, Conservative Leader Patrick Brown had over 50 per cent of the votes cast in the Simcoe North by-election. It was not Ontario’s finest hour.
It was a foolish decision to have a provincial by-election during the over-stretched federal election. It was a weak and ill-considered campaign in a little understood electoral district. It was a Conservative spare-no-expense campaign versus small-town parsimony. It was a jogging mouth-breather against a jogging granny. It was country mouse versus city mouse.
And it was an “Oops, human error” when the Conservatives contravened the election law and ran a scurrilous attack ad in a local paper after all further advertising was forbidden. Mr. Brown never cared for rules anyway. He appears to think they do not apply to him.
He is believed to have broken the rules by paying for party memberships in the Conservative leadership contest. Nobody seemed to care about that. He won the leadership by signing up thousands of recent immigrants from India. It was just a game to him. It was not politics; it smelled more like fraud. And we have no idea who paid for it.
Visually in the riding, the by-election campaign was a mass of Conservative signs and a few pathetic little Liberal and NDP signs. And then some Queen’s Park Liberal genius decided to run a radio campaign. In a socially conservative area of Ontario, the Liberals ran ads accusing Patrick Brown of being socially conservative.
It was really too bad that the riding did not have the choice of a more dynamic Liberal candidate. Now a three-time loser, the Liberal candidate can enjoy his retirement.
What was really funny in this ill-considered by-election was the transition of the new Conservative leader for Ontario. This small-town boy who did virtually nothing in nine years in Ottawa has always looked small town and nerdy. It looks like someone has taken him in hand. They got the boy a Toronto haircut, burned his old clothes and got him some decent ones. And yet he hardly needed those trappings for this campaign.
And now this boy is coming to Queen’s Park. There, he will have speech writers. There, he will have handlers. There will be a female aide at his elbow to dispel the comments on him being a bachelor. It all means the phony war is over in Ontario. The phony Progressive Conservative leader is in place.
Copyright 2015 © Peter Lowry
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