Wynne wins; Liberals lose.

It is no surprise that hard work pays off. Kathleen Wynne won and she deserved the win. When she came second in the electoral district races, she kept on working. She came to Babel in heavy snow squalls to shore up her support. She intensified her e-mail campaign. She did everything that an undemocratic selection system demanded of her, and more. The only unanswered question is whether her selection as leader is best for the Ontario Liberal Party.

Most politicos agree that this was probably the last delegated leadership convention by a major political party in Canada. (It was traditional right down to the paper ballots.) Saturday at the convention was hours of excruciating boredom interspersed with a few minutes of surprise and bad theatre. The early morning speeches with the obligatory demonstrations were as expected with the notable exception of that by Kathleen Wynne.  It was claimed that she wrote the speech herself. If she did, she missed her calling.

Those who had heard Wynne speak before were the most surprised. A person who often is more impressed with herself, opened up and spoke with a surprising honesty and lightness. She lost the teleprompter occasionally but recaptured her words with humour. It was a speech she will never regret or forget.

And nobody knows the work behind the scenes. MPP’s Glenn Murray, Eric Hoskins and Charles Souza were expected to support her and they did. It was the support at the end by Gerard Kennedy that put Wynne over the top. These were two people who had worked together in the early days of the McGuinty government and outsiders had no understanding of the relationship.

But where does this leave the Ontario Liberal Party? It has just proved at this delegated convention that democracy is not on its agenda. It is a top-down political party that operates as a propaganda machine for the Premier. It has chosen a new leader who is beholden to party bosses across Ontario for her ascent to the Premier’s job. The one leadership candidate who recognized the weakness of this was Gerard Kennedy, who is not even in the Ontario Legislature. The party has no advocate.

Delegates have returned to their electoral districts and to their increasingly irrelevant role in the Ontario Liberal Party. The party only wants them as troops for elections. They have no say in the creation, setting or reviewing of party policy. They do not even set their own rules of procedure. They have no say in who will be their candidate or when the candidate will be chosen. They are just supposed to do what they are told.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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