It was 12 years ago that I helped elect a new mayor for Barrie, Ontario where I was now living. It was fun. I liked the candidate and his wife. It was an excellent way to really get to know my new city. The three-term mayor announced the other day that he wants to run provincially in my electoral district of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. I was delighted that he finally decided to take the plunge.
The good news in this is that the riding can get rid of the carpetbagger that Doug Ford dumped on us in the 2018 election. As attorney general of Ontario, conservative Doug Downey has been of no use to the city or any of the surrounding rural areas. He was the man who was never here. He might have done something for where he lives up in Severn but Barrie was forgotten. He likely spent more time driving through Barrie on Highway 400 than he did in the actual city. He is nothing but a ward healer from small town Ontario.
The good news is that mayor Jeff Lehman is a strong campaigner. I ran the ground game for him in his first mayoralty campaign and it was a pleasure to work with him. I had him working three carefully selected polls a day in the summer of 2010. He enjoyed the challenge. I went along some days to see how we were doing but, at almost twice his age, he could always out last me.
But nobody is perfect. Lehman was supposed to have written an opinion piece for the Toronto Star the other day that signalled his move to the provincial scene. It read like something a political science major would write. It was lauding pragmatism in politics. Luckily, there are few readers of the Toronto Star in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. Pragmatism is the lowest level of the political paradigm. It is used by the lazy and unthinking. It is the solution of the populist and the uncaring. It can never replace leadership and ideas.
And this is a time when the liberal party in Ontario has to showcase leadership. Ontario voters have had enough of Doug Ford’s phony populism. Every liberal candidate in the June 2 election has to run on leadership potential. It is the pragmatic path to getting elected.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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