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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Partisan Problems: Hudak's Latest Hypocrisy

I don't imagine many pundits noticed this (and fewer probably care) but it piqued my interests, so here goes.

Then-Minister Kathleen Wynne, along with the whole of former Premier Dalton McGuinty's Liberal Cabinet, signed off on his decision to relocate the gas plants.

Frankly, we have no idea how the discussion around the table went - what we have exposure to is the end product, not the discussion that led up to it.  Maybe Wynne did say no, maybe she didn't - at the end of the day, though, majority ruled on the Premier's decision and the deal was done.

Hudak seems to be suggesting Wynne should have refused, resigned, broke Party ranks and stood by her ethics - or, framed a different way, she should have broken ranks and ignored Party discipline.

Like, say, Dave Brister did.

Dave Brister was the guy who publicly spoke up against Hudak's right-to-work policy as wrong-headed.  For publicly disagreeing with the Party line, Brister was unceremoniously dumped by Hudak.

Brister's comments were unacceptable solely because they broke ranks with Hudak's message.  What he was saying clearly wasn't the problem - after all, the PCs backed down on Right-To-Work in response to the same kind of message Brister brought forward - it was the fact that he, one of their people had said it that was the issue.

That wasn't the first time Hudak has put Party interests above public interests.  When Peter Shurman decided he wanted to run where he now lives - not in his former riding of Thornhill but in Niagara Falls - Hudak explicitly told him he couldn't.  

Why not?  Shurman had a lock on Thornhill that Hudak didn't want to lose.  It didn't matter that his Shurman no longer lived there and was willing to run where he did - it was the seat, not the constituents, that Hudak considered first.

That didn't work out so well for the PC's public image - instead of accepting responsibility for his choices, as leaders do, Hudak fired Shurman, too.

Hudak has played the same sort of game over his on/off dance with Doug Ford.  He doesn't want to alienate Ford's massive base, but he doesn't want to be seen as too close to the toxic politician himself.  
In these matters, it's not Hudak's conscience that drives him - it's that numbers game he's so fond of.

If Hudak had been Premier and made the gas plant call - which, by his own admission, he would have - and one of his Ministers spoke up publicly against the move, he would have turfed them.  More to the point - seeing how focused he has consistently been on his Party's interests, we can pretty much expect similar scenarios to crop up should he become Premier.

Think infrastructure developments like hospitals, schools or roads in friendly ridings when they're needed elsewhere - say, the North.  Think outsourced contracts to Party-friendly consultants without open competition.  Think fights picked with stakeholder groups he knows will never vote for him, because he knows it will mobilize his base.

Hudak has made it clear that, when he's the boss, dissension is not tolerated.

Which is exactly the attitude Ontarian s (and even partisans) are fed up with.

This is no passing thing - look at what's happening with the Federal Parties, or any Party for that matter. Elected Officials that exercise their judgement are punished.

They have no hope of becoming Ministers, Leaders or Premier - that door is only open for those who toe the Party line, no matter how wacky that line is.

Nobody cares about this, of course, and it's impossible for the Liberals to make this argument without being branded as weak or whiners.

But it's true none the less.


  1. Good article. Push it out more.

    Note - I think you have a typo ... "For publicly disagreeing with the Party line, Brister was unceremoniously dumped by Brister." should probably read "... by Hudak."

  2. Yes. Yes, it should. You're becoming my copy editor, which is appreciated! This is my fun-blog, which I am being encouraged to do more with. Stay tuned for that...