TORONTO - It didn’t matter to entitled Torontonians that she misled the electorate about her ties to the gas plant scandal and about the state of Ontario’s finances or that she’s more left of centre than NDP Leader Andrea Horwath or that with her “safe hands” in charge of this province, we’re closer to Greece or Detroit than the witless in this city ever want to think.
It didn’t matter that her fiscal capabilities seem to begin and end with her ability to buy votes and buy off the powerful unions so they would scratch her back and spend gazillons of dollars on ads that scared voters into thinking Tim Hudak was the devil incarnate.
Toronto’s latte-sipping, mojito-sipping elitists, whiny forever-hard-done-by teachers and assorted other public sector workers were having none of the necessary tough medicine being dished out by the Conservatives. They are entitled to their entitlements, dammit. I actually heard one man on TV Thursday night talking about the people in Toronto not liking “scary,” as in Hudak.
I would beg to differ. They don’t like reality.
Whether wilfully ignorant about the record of Liberal mismanagement and the billions of dollars thrown down the drain on scandals, dollars that could and should have gone to health care, or apathetic about the corruption that has dominated the headlines and the stench of favouritism and nepotism surrounding so many Liberal contracts — or it is simply impossible to break the stranglehold the Liberals have on Toronto — not one PC candidate won in Toronto.
All but three ridings went to Liberals — many of them tired seat warmers and well beyond their best-before date like Monte Kwinter, Mike Colle, Lorenzo Berardinetti and Bas Balkissoon. Two NDP incumbents got tossed — Rosario Marchese and Jonah Schein — no doubt because the downtown elitists couldn’t even stomach Horwath’s talk about reining in spending.
PC MPP Doug Holyday — a decent man with integrity — went down to defeat to his council colleague Peter Milczyn, who has learned the nasty Liberal tricks very well.
I suspected all along that Torontonians were prepared to give Wynne a free pass because she’s openly gay. After all, that would suggest she’s far more hip, progressive and compassionate, fit to run the province because she runs in her Running Room jacket, loaded with integrity and truly interested in helping people. It speaks just as much to the superficiality of the low-information pampered voters in this city as to Wynne’s excellent campaigning skills and the ability of the Liberal machine to control the message.
I can tell you after watching her up close for many months at Queen’s Park, Wynne cares about one thing only: Clinging to Power and keeping her Liberal friends happily rolling in largesse.
I thought Hudak’s campaign was bold and his message of restraint needed to be articulated. Even so, I’ve said this before and will say it again. Since running for Hudak in the St. Paul’s byelection in 2009, he has not evolved as an urban politician. He and his party’s policies were unable to connect with Toronto voters then, and still have not now, despite the fact that the face of the party is changing.
There were some really smart hip PC candidates who ran in this election: Justine Deluce in my own riding of St. Paul’s; Kevin Gaudet in Pickering-Scarborough East; openly gay Jamie Ellerton in Parkdale-High Park. They couldn’t break through the city’s fixation with all things Liberal.
I find it difficult to believe Hudak and his handlers did not anticipate the huge backlash they’d get from the entitled unions about paring down 100,000 jobs. But they seem ill-prepared and unable to counter the lies, the scare tactics, the constant attempts at indoctrinating low-information voters. They needed to use simple sound bites that told voters, day after day after day, that they would NOT touch the front lines. They needed to reiterate repeatedly that instead they intended to get rid of the bloated fat cat middle managers and the Liberal friends at agencies that operated under the radar and not rehire middle managers when they retired.
Dare I say Hudak and his handlers would have far better off taking a page from Rob Ford’s successful “Stop the Gravy Train” message.
I predicted last August that Hudak wouldn’t have what it takes to win the next election and that he would not be able to connect with Toronto voters — even though it should have been his to lose. Regrettably, I’ve been proven right. His decision to step down after the vote was one election too late.
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