The Morning Line: Eric Hoskins at 9 – 2.

An Eric Hoskins with more experience and a clearer direction could have been a threat in this race. Eric is in something like John Turner’s position in the 1968 federal leadership convention. His youthful appearance, despite being over 50, and his light, self deprecating campaign style have earned Eric a sizeable chunk of the Young Liberal vote. That, and his attractive young family, has set him apart from Toronto competitors, Glen Murray and Kathleen Wynne.

Hoskins wife, Dr. Samantha Nutt, has been used effectively in the campaign and has done a robocall that was a real grabber—if you believe in the effectiveness of those annoyances. This is not to deny though that Eric Hoskins’ campaign is the best of a disjointed and disappointing group. It is a campaign with far more style than substance.

Eric’s most serious problem is that he offers no policy options that are not the same old do-nothing, sound-good cant. He comes across as just another dilettante on the right-wing of a party that already has more right-wingers than it needs or wants. He is also constrained by the fact that he has been in the cabinet through the time of the government’s most glaring errors in judgement. With only the last three years in provincial politics, Eric has had little time to learn the political ropes and less time to make a name for himself. His attempt at moving up to the premier’s job is premature.

With Gerard Kennedy coming in at about 400 votes on the first ballot, Eric Hoskins will likely be about 50 votes behind him. While both will improve their votes on the second ballot, Kennedy will have more second vote support and will increase the distance between them. By the third ballot, Hoskins can expect to continue to pick up a few more votes but a fourth ballot will be useless for him.

The nub of the convention for Hoskins might just be that period between the third and fourth ballot. He can settle the issue for the party by trying to take his support over to Sandra Pupatello or he could gamble on his future with Gerard Kennedy as Premier. That would be better for the party but Hoskins will have to make that decision for himself. When John Turner was in that position between Pierre Trudeau and Bob Winters at the end of the 1968 federal Liberal convention, John pulled a disappearing act and refused to make a decision.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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