Chris Selley: Doug Ford makes everything worse for Ontario PC party ‘elites’


It’s Stopped Clock Day in Ontario: Doug Ford is right.

“We have seen backroom politics at its worst — insiders trying to politically capitalize at the expense of the people, elites who are disconnected from the grassroots of the party,” he told reporters on Monday in the basement of the Ford homestead, where he announced his campaign for leader of the Progressive Conservatives.

Story checks out. It’s not at all clear there will even be a leadership election for Ford to run in: interim leader Vic Fedeli and his allies are said to be agitating to reverse the party executive’s initial decision to hold a vote. Reneging would send a terrible message both to the membership and to the voting public about the state of the would-be governing party.

“This hostile environment cannot continue,” said Ford. “Right now the party needs strong leadership, someone who’s ready to clean up the mess and lead us into the June election.”

Fact check: true.

Alas, Doug Ford is much better at making messes than cleaning them up.

Against all odds, every scenario just keeps getting worse for the PCs. The Stick with Vic group now has even more incentive to shut down the leadership contest, or to stack it somehow in favour of centrists and known quantities, with all the negatives that would entail. Many members would be absolutely furious at a time when their support is needed most. And because Fedeli would face a leadership contest within 18 months of the election, even were he to win the Premier’s Office, the opposition could at least semi-credibly argue Ontarians won’t know who they’re voting for.

Andrew Coyne: Let those who know best pick a party leader — that’s the caucus, not ‘the membership’

If they do go ahead with a proper campaign, Ford will almost certainly relitigate massive disagreements within the party that Brown had barely managed to tamp down: over the carbon tax, and over social conservative issues like sex-ed, which is still a raw nerve among some conservatives — not least in ethnic communities that were crucial to Brown’s win and could also be for Ford’s.

At first blush, Ford doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense as a magnet for so-con votes. But Charles McVety, head of Canada Christian College and a longtime leader on the Christian Right, is already foursquare behind him. “He’s not perfect in any way, he’s not perfect on my issues,” he concedes. “Smoking and drinking and who knows what else — I don’t even want to ask.”

But McVety says he was won over by the Ford brothers’ successful intervention in 2014 on behalf of Toronto’s Jesus in the City parade, which faced cancellation over permitting issues but eventually went ahead. (Ford most recently marched in the 2017 edition of the parade, in September, just days after announcing his mayoral campaign.)

“On that issue alone,” McVety says he would support Ford — “a man who fights not for political gain but to do the right thing for the folks.

“Stockwell …read more

Source:: Nationalpost


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