But when does the PC contest begin?

We are missing some fun here. Sure MPP Christine Elliott is going to run for the Ontario Conservative leadership. That is not a race, it is a leisurely walk. We need some contestants. Let’s deal some excitement.

Obviously Christine Elliott is a tough opponent. Why do you think Stephen Harper held her late husband, Jim Flaherty’s, seat for her in the House of Commons? He could have called the by-election before this but he knew she could win the seat easily. As things stand, he might just call a general election before bothering with a by-election that the Conservatives are likely to lose without Elliott running.

Actually the idea of having a federal general election before the provincial Tories pick a leader sounds smart. There will be a lot of has-been Ontario MPs looking for something to do after the coming federal election. John Baird and Tony Clement for example might like to return to their salad days with Premier Michael Harris. And they can claim to be much more right-wing than Elliott.

Our local MP in Babel is already playing peek-a-boo with the provincial contest. Most people think it is just a publicity ploy on his part, but it might not be. Patrick Brown has now had a chance to see the poll-by-poll results of the recent provincial election for the newly redistributed federal riding he chose for himself. He now knows that this new riding is not as safe as he expected.

In fact there are few federal electoral districts that are not impacted by the redistribution in Ontario. While the Conservatives had an edge in how some of those electoral districts were redrawn, times are changing. There is a new sheriff in town by the name of Justin Trudeau and if he really has the impact on younger voters and women that we expect, there are few safe seats left in Ontario for the Harper Conservatives.

Realizing that it is something of an oxymoron to say this, there just might be enough smart Conservatives left to recognize that they have to get back to the days of Bill Davis. Bill’s advantage as Ontario Conservative leader was that he was progressive and he was well liked. Compared to Bill Davis who was the daddy we all wanted when children, former Tory Leader Tim Hudak was that nasty kid from down the street.

The coming provincial Conservative leadership will be an ideal opportunity for the party to redefine the type of conservatism they want to preach and practice. The brutal memories of the Mike Harris days are still alive and are serious handicaps for the party. And some of the Harper hang-ups are even more current. If the PCs pick the hard right tea-party route so be it. They also have an opportunity to rethink and remodel.


Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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