By Gerry Barker
March 12, 2018
The six-week campaign by the provincial Tories to replace Patrick brown as leader turned out to be a marathon of several hours to process the result. It was Ford by a hair.
The party head honchos who created this system that included using proportional voting in which delegates had to grade each of the leadership candidates on their electronic ballot.
They allocated a points system to determine the order in which candidate received the most first choices and so on down the line. Apparently while Christine Elliott received more votes the crazy quilt system gave Doug Ford a small margin and the party executing accepted the result.
After monitoring the TV news outlets much of the afternoon, I switched to watch the hockey game and missed the final-final of this exercise in proportional voting. Why on earth did the party adopted this to select a leaders is mind-boggling.
The New Democratic Party has promoted proportional voting for some three years. Under the banner “Fair Vote,” Guelph’s NDP activist, Susan Watson, was very much involved to persuade the provincial government to adopt it in future elections.
About a year ago the Trudeau federal government that had promised election reform following its huge 2015 victory, walked away from that promise that included proportional voting.
It’s a good thing they did because we’d still be waiting for the results of the 2015 Federal Election if the proportional voting system had been in place.
So the Ontario Conservatives decided to adopt it for the Leadership Campaign.
So now we are faced with another Ford experience in the political wars. He certainly wasn’t my choice but the Tories are now stuck with him to carry the PC banner to the June 7 provincial election.
While Premier Kathleen Wynne’s poll ratings are below 20 per cent, they had to be sipping Champagne in Liberal headquarters Saturday night following the Ford victory.
Despite the absence of Patrick Brown, the PC’s are ten points ahead of the Liberals. Depending on Mr. Ford’s election agenda, plus the fact that there are many candidate vacancies in the ridings, including Guelph, there are only 11 weeks remaining to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Well, the PC’s campaign under Brown to “ Take back our Party” got their wish Saturday night.
Just think, no policies, promises, denials or positions that will effectively drop kick the Wynne Liberals out of government.
The Ford-led Tories have opportunity but the party is no Phoenix rising out of the ashes of party discord. And there is a lot of it floating among the faithful. Doubt about the outcome remains as Ms. Elliott’s team ponders a court decision as to the legitimacy of the Saturday night result.
That means that party unity may be a myth, as the divisions remain deep and disturbing.
The issue of unity was vamped by the TV folk’s ad nauseum during the long delay in announcing the outcome. You had to feel sorry for those TV news people who groped for angles while on the air waiting, waiting, waiting.
The remaining campaign with an 11 week time line will disappear fast as the three Ontario parties drive to the June 7 election day.
Pending a huge scandal, and the Grits are good at that, my prediction is a minority Liberal government that may cling to power for a year and then, away we go again to elect a new government.
Mr. Ford has to gain the approval of the PC caucus of which only two supported his candidacy. Christine Elliott on the other hand had the support of 20 members of the caucus.
Also Mr. Ford’s political experience is as a member of Toronto city council and a former candidate for Mayor. He has a steep learning curve to be effective in the Legislature and understand the rules and regulations surrounding the government of Ontario.
But this you can bet on, it will be a short-lived hot time in the Legislature between now and the dropping of the election writ in May.
Fasten your seat belts!