“Less than 24 hours later, Mr. Hudak’s caucus launched a campaign demanding that the province continue gambling on horses.”
Adam Radwanski, Globe & Mail
Leadership is the ability to unite people behind a common vision and inspire them to work proactively and collaboratively to achieve that vision. To make this happen, the temptation to react, to jump for the small victories that detract from the actualization of the vision must be suppressed. A good leader provides his team with hope, empowering them to forgo the seed and wait for the fruit.
This is a lesson Tim Hudak and the Ontario PC Party need to take to heart. So far, Tim Hudak’s performance as leader has been nothing but reactive; reactive to foreign workers and foreign students, reacting to sex education, pushing the fear and anger buttons over crime, jumping with vigour on whatever rakes the governing Liberals put in his path. This reactionary behaviour doesn’t get you anywhere; it just gives you a headache and eventually, becomes painful for an audience to watch.
What vision does Tim Hudak have for a strong Ontario? Advocating for cuts alone isn’t a plan – again, it’s a reaction. How would cuts fit into a broader plan? What are the other pieces of that plan? To date, he has not articulated a plan for where he wants to take our province. While reactiveness and attacks might be enough to sustain a frustrated, scared and angry base, it’s not enough to win the province on.
Dalton McGuinty (who does have the advantage of time and experience on his side) has a clear vision for where he wants to take Ontario, whether it is universally agreed with or not. McGuinty sees tomorrow’s Ontario as embracing the Knowledge Economy and pursuing innovation into emerging sectors, like clean/green tech. He sees diversity as the foundation of knowledge, so is supportive of ethnic communities and art industries like film. To embrace this opportunity, people need to get along – which means a high quality-of-life (healthcare, anti-bullying, strong social services) but also a responsible, affordable, sustainable one.
McGuinty has the vision – it’s what he unites his people behind. It’s those people who provide the ideas and wherewithal to make that vision a reality.
Tactics in the absence of a strategy is no plan at all. It’s time for Tim Hudak to articulate his vision for our province; his real test of leadership won’t be how successfully he can attack the Liberals, but rather, how efficiently he can unite his own team behind that vision.