Why John Tory is Good For Ontario (and Dalton McGuinty)

John Tory

Over and above the fact that John Tory has proven himself to be an effective campaigner and one who projects a conciliatory, consensus-building approach, John Tory will prove to be good for Ontario because his very presence will keep Dalton McGuinty honest and strongly encourage him to keep his nose to the grindstone.

Adam Radwanski at Radwanski’s Ramblings assesses in stark detail the differences between Conservative leadership frontrunners Jim Flaherty and John Tory (unfortunately, permalinks are not available).

John Tory may actually be slightly less assured of victory than Eves was in ‘02, but for my money he’s a vastly superior candidate. And whether Flaherty has deteriorated or that last performance was just a mirage, he no longer looks even remotely appealing.

The little tricks his campaign pulled back then — having him seated for his speech and talking straight into the camera, for instance — looked clever. The one they tried last night — having him beamed into the convention from Whitby, to prove he’s not a Toronto guy — just looked like amateur hour.

In one sentence, Radwanski illustrates why it would have been an unmitigated disaster for the Tories to have chosen Flaherty as leader. And just to make sure that everybody gets it, he elaborates:

Even if Tories like a little bit of conflict now and then, I don’t have the impression that all that many of them are keen on a leader who’s so divisive that he positions himself as diametrically opposed to a city with 20% of the province’s seats and a much bigger chunk of its population.

The disaster to McGuinty and Toronto had Flaherty been elected Tory leader would have been more subtle, but very real. With Flaherty in charge and campaigning on an anti-Toronto platform, McGuinty would have less incentive to keep up his work on improving Toronto’s ability to manage its future. With Tory in charge, McGuinty is robbed of the opportunity of letting up, and then pointing to Flaherty saying “you Torontonians can’t abandon me; look at the alternative waiting in the wings.”

With Tory in charge, the debate in the coming election pays at least some attention to Toronto’s future and Torontonians’ ability to meet it. Toronto is now a part of the political discussion in Ontario, and for that we have both Tory and McGuinty to thank.

Hey, hey! My 900th post!

Update (13:50): Kevin Brennan at Tilting at Windmills makes his criticism of Flaherty even more succinct in his post entitled Flaherty to Toronto: Drop Dead

Flaherty, 54, sparked the attack by suggesting the party should shun a leader from Toronto, like Tory. “When we ran a leader from Toronto, the late, well-respected Larry Grossman … when Ernie Eves, living in Toronto, ran last time, we did very poorly. We got wiped out as a matter of fact,” he said.

I suppose it would do no good to Flaherty to mention that the leader before Larry Grossman, Frank Miller, ran on a platform that pulled back from Bill Davis’ longstanding support for Toronto’s economic and urban development. Frank Miller, perhaps not coincidentally, was the Conservative leader that actually led the Conservatives into their first defeat in 42 years.

Any individual who is trying to run on such a divisive platform does not deserve to be party leader, much less leader of the province of Ontario.

blog comments powered by Disqus