That is what you call a political boo-boo. It was an opportunity for attention. It was a time to be heard. You forego it at your peril. A new leader for any party needs the litmus test of opposition. It is a time of party cleansing and clarification.
Talking to liberal leader Steven Del Duca at the beginning of the provincial campaign this year, I found he did not understand that the conservatives had duped him. He had been waiting for the election to make his case, so the conservatives gave him a 15-day election. He had 15 days and then the advance polls opened and the public interest would shift to voting. He had almost no time to make an impression. It was a waste of time.
Del Duca never looked like a leader. He was not one. He travelled the province in a van. He was never important enough for a bus. He never dressed as a premier. He is a casual kind of guy.
Both opposition leaders from the 2022 provincial election ran for mayor in their municipalities this fall and won. Andrea Horwath is now the mayor of Hamilton and Steven Del Duca is mayor of Vaughan. They are both likely to be happier there. And they can rail at premier Doug Ford all they like.
But how foolish are the provincial new democrats not to be sure they had a contest for the leadership of their party? They can ill-afford the lethargy of their party members. They needed to build enthusiasm for the need to rid the province of Doug Ford. They needed the party platforms to introduce their leadership candidates. They needed to define the party in this 21st Century.
There is no doubt that new democrat leader MPP Marit Stiles from Davenport riding in Toronto has a pretty smile. Is she worth $180,000 per year of taxpayers’ money as leader of the opposition in the legislature? Andrea Horwath was never worth it. She never earned it. She might as well have been sitting mute in the legislature for the past ten years.
The leader of the opposition in the legislature does not need to be a nag. The job requires sharp political instincts. You cannot be trailing the government. You have to get ahead of the conservatives. You have to be able to see the government’s weaknesses. And attack with concern and smarts.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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