In all the inept arrangements of the recent leadership race for Ontario’s liberals, many observers lost sight of what was really happening on the Yellow Brick Road. The event took too long, was too complex in the voting and you had to wonder if they would ever get to the Land of Oz.
Luckily, the contestants were sincere. It was those contestants who, in the end, made it all work. My inclination was to support the Tin Man in the person of Nate Erskine-Smith but I found him surprisingly disorganized. Yasir Naqvi was a stalwart from the past of the party and served as the Cowardly Lion and he came third. Ted Hsu was fourth in the role of the Scarecrow and he continues in that role at Queen’s Park. Bonnie Crombie slipped easily into the role of Dorothy to lead the contestants down the Yellow Brick Road.
I was quite disappointed in them when Yasir Naqvi and Nate Erskine-Smith tried to unite the boys against the one girl in the race. Luckily, Ted Hsu recognized it as a destructive agreement and refused to participate. The boys club idea was similar to the stalking horse attempt of Patrick Brown on behalf of John Charest in the last conservative leadership. It ended when Brown was kicked out of the leadership race.
There was the odd criticism of Bonnie Crombie during the liberal debates but Crombie handled them well. The candidates recognized that they were all liberals—just maybe of different types. Erskine-Smith wanted to look like a bit of a maverick, Naqvi was the stolid old-timer and Hsu was the enthusiastic newcomer. That left Crombie in the awkward position of being considered more to the right than the party she was vying to lead.
In fairness to Crombie, it should be noted that she is not as far right as some of the federal liberals in the Trudeau cabinet and she is a raving socialist compared to former liberal leaders such as Paul Martin federally or Dalton McGinty provincially.
I think it would be a very foolish of any city mayor in Ontario who would not want a premier such as Bonnie Crombie, who understands municipal needs.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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