Will John Tory’s ‘prudent’ leadership be tough enough to tackle Toronto’s big issues if he’s re-elected?
Andrew Lawton is a former deputy premier and a former president of the Treasury Board. He’s an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Globe and Mail and the National Post.
The new Ontario premier is expected to inherit a government that is facing massive challenges in the face of what could well turn out to be the worst job-creation boom in decades and one of the most damaging economic shocks in Canadian history. And from what I hear, it’s not just his team taking over as well.
The NDP will be hard-pressed to turn things around. Its leadership contest is now a three-way fight between its leader Andrea Horwath, an academic and activist, and New Democrat MLAs Charles St-Jacques and John Vanthof.
The Liberals are in a much stronger position as they have a majority in the legislature and the premier, in the wake of the departure of Dalton McGuinty, is not a strong Liberal leader.
The governing Conservatives, meanwhile, are in crisis. They’re facing yet another leadership election as well as having to figure out how to move beyond a series of unpopular cuts in public health, education and social services.
And it’s not hard to imagine the challenges the Tories might have when it comes to the legislature and in keeping order while the incoming premier faces a crisis of confidence.
The Tories could also run the risk of a backlash from the Ontarians they intend to lead in a general election. That’s because most Ontarians are at best ambivalent about the PCs, the party with which they are currently facing off.
Despite a lot of noise about PC leadership, it’s still too early to tell. And it would be a mistake for any leader to make hasty assumptions about their opponents’ intentions.
A lot will depend, however, on whether the new Tory government