Monday, December 15, 2008

The End is Nigh, The End is Nigh, The Star Comes out for John Tory

As the Ontario Legislature adjourned last week for a two-month winter recess, Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory still didn't have a seat. And his self-imposed deadline of the end of this year is fast approaching.

However, the lack of a seat in the Legislature for Tory is not, in itself, the main problem facing Tory today. Rather, it is a symptom of the problem, which is that support for him within the provincial Conservative party is eroding. By now, a leader in a stronger position would have been able to force another MPP to step aside and make a seat available. Tory has pushed four or five different Conservative MPPs, and they have all pushed back.

The signs of the shakiness of Tory's position are everywhere, from disparaging quotes from unnamed party members to slack attendance at fundraising dinners.

This may seem strange to outsiders, as Tory is a man of obvious talent with an unrivalled work ethic. But he is also a Bill Davis Conservative, and the Mike Harris wing of the party has never much liked him. When the Conservatives lost the 2007 election, the Harrisites blamed Tory and his proposal of public funding for "faith-based schools" (even though the idea flowed from one of Harris's own policies, the private school tax credit). Now the Harrisites are actively undermining Tory, and sources say he may quit out of exasperation.

This would be a loss, and not just for the Conservatives who would have to turn to second-stringers in the Harris wing for a replacement. Under Tory, the Conservatives are a middle-of-the-road party that can present itself as a viable alternative to the Liberal government. Under a Harrisite replacement, the Conservatives would undoubtedly turn hard right and essentially give the Liberals a free pass to stay in power. That would not be good for democracy or the province.

Ironically, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a Harris-style Conservative himself, could help Tory out by appointing one of his MPPs (Bob Runciman is the mostly likely choice) to the Senate. That would open up the seat that Tory needs.

If that is what it takes to keep Tory at Queen's Park, it is a Senate appointment we would welcome.

Also, correct me if I am wrong, but don't we even pay lip service to the idea that someone is selected for the Senate on their merits and not as a means to an end, in this case, a job for John Tory.

If you're curious to see whether I made all this up, you can click here.


  1. Hey, I found your blog! Are you in Toronto?

  2. Hey,
    Someone actually (who I know) found the blog!


Comments more than welcome!