Posts Tagged ‘morning line’

The Morning Line: Gerard Kennedy at 4 – 1.

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

The reason Gerard Kennedy is third in our morning line analyses is because we expect him to come third on the first ballot, just behind Kathleen Wynne. The difference in the odds is that Kennedy’s numbers can grow on the second ballot and we expect him to pass Wynne at this point. And at four to one odds, we expect Gerard to attract the serious punters among convention attendees.

If a race really does develop under these over-controlled circumstances, expect it to be between Sandra Pupatello and Gerard Kennedy. She will be the darling of the party’s right wing and Gerard will attract the more progressive elements of the party.

It has been obvious to everyone following the debates that Gerard feels the most restricted by the rules. He has to break out of the mould in which the party is trying to lock the candidates into. It will be too late at the convention for him to throw the dice and say what he really thinks about the state of the Ontario Liberal Party.

While his campaign has demonstrated caution so far, this might be the influence of former Health Minister George Smitherman who better understands McGuinty and what has happened at Queen’s Park while Gerard concentrated his attention on Ottawa. Having been both a MPP and a MP, Gerard can offer delegates a broader view of the needs of the party. It is difficult to do that though without coming across as critical of Dalton McGuinty. Gerard is certainly the most credible of the candidates when it comes to discussing the currently strained relations with the teachers and civil servants.

Since the finale of the convention is expected to be the showdown between the right and left wings of the Ontario party, you can expect a bit of drama late Saturday afternoon. It could just go three ballots if Kathleen Wynne throws her support behind one of her competitors before she has to. If she goes to Pupatello, it is game over. If Wynne really does believe in a more progressive party and does the right thing in supporting Kennedy, we would suggest that everyone hold all tickets because we could be in for a surprise.

But it is not the role of the morning line writer to hatch surprises or suggest break outs. We can admire the solid campaign that Gerard and his team are waging. It is not extravagant. It is well-paced and effective. He has done a good job of getting out and meeting party people across the province. He will get good second vote support. He is going to need it.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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

The Morning Line: Kathleen Wynne at 6 – 1.

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

When did we get this rule that says a person can publicly announce their sexual preference and then the rest of us do not talk about it? Just imagine how Conservative leader Tiny Tim Hudak and the Ontario Landowners Association are chortling at the prospect of having MPP Kathleen Wynne as Premier. If you think they have built a wall of ignorance across rural Central Ontario, what do you think will happen when they get to attack a Liberal lesbian grandmother? They could potentially move that wall of ignorance south to the GTA.

Dalton McGuinty’s job is up for grabs and it is up to Liberals to decide which person out of a limited field of seven they will select. Each candidate has positives and negatives to consider. In the case of Kathleen Wynne, you can weigh the experience she brings to the job and her skill set against the negatives of bigotry. What people see wrong with being a grandmother, we do not know. It is possible though that, at 60 this year, MPP Kathleen Wynne is just too old to be a legitimate candidate for leader of the Liberal Party in Ontario. With the party facing four to eight years in opposition, age is a consideration.

But with morning line odds of 6 to 1, you do not write off Kathleen Wynne. She has some strong support and needs to be taken seriously on the first ballot. She took first place in signing up new members of the Liberal Party but it will be difficult to translate those numbers into convention delegates when electoral districts choose them on January 12 and 13. Her problem is that on the first ballot, she needs to come within 200 or 300 votes of a majority and we do not see that happening.

If she has less than 500 votes on the first ballot, Wynne can pack it in. Her problem is that she cannot grow. Unless she is close to that magic 50 per cent, her vote is more likely to drop than grow on the second ballot. This will be a reflection of some of the strong arm tactics used to get her delegates. Her campaign was much too aggressive in the beginning and she has had to soften her campaign approach.

Wynne’s most serious strategic error so far is the promise to assume the agriculture portfolio as well as the Premier’s office. The agriculture job is fulltime and while you do not have to be a farmer, you do have to know which end of a cow to admire and you have to have lots of empathy for farmers. She is a negotiator, not an empathizer.

Wynne can probably settle the pain quickly for the party. She has the votes to hang in until the fourth ballot but if she moves to Sandra Pupatello after the second ballot, the whole thing could be settled in time for the six o’clock news.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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

The Morning Line: Sandra Pupatello at 5-2.

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Windsor’s Sandra Pupatello is clearly the front runner in the January Ontario Liberal Stakes. While that might not be good news for the Liberal Party, there is no denying that her aggressive and well-funded campaign is leaving her GTA opponents tangled in their struggles for dominance in that area.

Pupatello’s lack of a seat in the legislature and her statement that she would keep it prorogued until she has a by-election was a strategic error at the start of the campaign. Liberals are embarrassed by the use of what they see as a Stephen Harper/Conservative tactic to give the party time to choose a new leader. She is also confounding many Liberal Party members with her strong right-wing stance.

Despite her aggressive, take-no-prisoners speaking style in the debates, Pupatello’s campaign team have created a very personable Sandra in contact with Liberals across the province. In this type of contest, that is the ideal stance. The campaign is also beating others to the punch in using modern techniques such as a telephone town hall. Overall, hers is an innovative and friendly campaign that assumes the positive. It means that her campaign team know that her second and third ballot support has to grow. And, so far, it looks like it will.

What is difficult to assess at this stage is Sandra’s ex officio support. These party worthies tend to be more right wing and she will have a substantial share.  We are assuming this could be as much as 30 per cent on the first ballot. These ex officio votes could take her up to 800 votes on the first ballot but we are assuming an averaged figure and are basing our forecast at 700 votes.

We get mixed readings from the Windsor area about Treasurer Dwight Duncan’s involvement. Dwight has alienated much of the left wing of the party in the area and it is hard to read the ultimate impact of this. The only good news is that Duncan is leaving politics and few will miss him. It is now more likely that it is his electoral district in which Pupatello will run, should she win the leadership.

There are two campaigns that could potentially upset the Pupatello express to the leadership and we will discuss those two campaigns over the next couple days.

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Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

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