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February 14, 2014

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John T

The NDP tends to do well in by-election seats like this - let's face it, the Niagara Falls economy is in terrible shape; the working families coalition put lots of resources into this riding; a high profile and well-known labour leader was running, promising the moon to people in economic despair; the Tories ran a retread which might have been a mistake. I'm not trying to let Hudak off the hook here; it is disappointing he did not win. But I don't think a riding like Niagara Falls is necessarily a microcosm for the province, which I still believe will elect a slim PC majority in the next election (and hopefully, the one after that, too).

But to me, here's the irony. It's policies exactly like Hudak's (the right to work and other business friendly policies) that will enable a basket case riding like Niagara Falls to recover economically. But people are so easily fooled (and scared).

Cincinnatus

Good points, John T.

monkey

I think part of Hudak's problem is he never fought back against Working families back in 2011 and once a negative image is imprinted in the public's mind its tough to overcome. I also think right to work laws are a good idea, but just won't fly politically and its not worth losing an election over those. A better solution which the unions would hate but at least might fly with the public as give individuals who object to union dues the right to donate an equivalent amount to a charity of their choice (to prevent freeriding) or keep union dues for pensions and cost of bargaining mandatory, but make them optional for the political advocacy component.

I don't believe the PCs necessarily need a Red Tory, but I also believe the party has to be careful not drift too far right. The centre is wide open as the Liberals have swung well to the left so the PCs should be about as far right as Liberals are left. Just because nearby states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa have elected conservative Republicans doesn't mean it will work in Ontario. Those are swing states where the GOP always gets at least 45% whereas in Ontario 45% is the ceiling for the PCs when the stars line up. A better comparison is Illinois and New York who are both heavily urbanized like Ontario and have a demographic profile somewhat more similar. Romney got 41% in Illinois and 37% in New York and that's probably the range the PCs will get in if they don't screw up.

In sum, Hudak needs to focus on two issues which could work

1. We are spending beyond our means and if we don't take action now, it will be much more difficult later

2. Liberal/NDP policies are turning away businesses while PCs have a policy that will make Ontario an attractive place to open a new business and thus create jobs.

Focus on those and forget about the union bashing. That plays well with the base but doesn't play well with the swing voters which are key to winning elections in Ontario.

WiseGuy

monkey- I have to disagree with you again. Ontario, like the rest of Canada is a conservative province. The reason conservatives don't win every election is that we rarely have real conservatives on the ballot. Looking at election wonk stuff, like trying to separate voters into little cubbies that you have to throw peanuts to, is a stupid way to run an election or a government.

If you are even capable of "moving to the centre", then you have already proven that you cannot be trusted. Funny how the voters can pick up on this, even if they don't know left from right.

monkey

WiseGuy - What evidence do you have that either Ontario or Canada are Conservative. Au contraire all evidence suggests the contrary. Lets remember we have two left wing parties vs. one right wing yet the right almost never gets over 50%. As for the fact we rarely see real conservatives on the ballot I would disagree this is the reason. The Wildrose Alliance and Reform Party federally were both true Conservatives yet both lost. I would argue the reason Canada is quite left wing is we are taught from a young age that we are compassionate caring country and that the left cares for the little guy while the right is only for the wealthy. Off course this not true, but this is what most Canadians believe. Changing perceptions will take time. I am not saying Ontario needs a Red Tory like John Tory or Joe Clark, but a slightly right of centre but still moderate like Brad Wall is what we need. In Saskatchewan, Elwin Hermanson was a true conservative a lost while Brad Wall are more moderate won. Asides from your personal opinion do you have any facts to back up that Canada and Ontario are right wing? Conservatives will only win if they understand how most think and find a way to bring the public in their direction.

I don't think we should run elections on popularity and conceding, but you also have to be realistic too. Harper succeeded unlike Manning or Day because he understood this and stayed on the right on issues where the public was open to (like tax cuts, tough on crime) while avoided it in areas it was bound to hurt his party (health care, abortion, same-sex marriage). I would argue Hudak should do the same. Cutting spending and curbing the size of the public sector are issues he can win on. Right to work laws are ones he cannot.

I also think comparing to the US is a bad thing. Unfortunately many in Ontario and Canadians in general are somewhat anti-American and tend to take pride in the fact we are more left wing and so using policies that worked there won't here.

JohnT

I agree with you, monkey that "right to work" is a "monkey" around Hudak's back, and he would be best to scrap it. Even though only 28% of Ont.'s work force is unionized it gives the other parties a big target, like Tory's position on school funding, (and what a mistake that was, politically). Certainly Ont.'s labour laws need modification, as you suggest, esp. allowing union members to "opt out" of the political activism portion of their dues. But that change will really have to come from fed-up union members themselves.

I really fear for Ontario's future if we don't have a change in direction in the next election. The current mess simply cannot go on and it won't, but how long it will take for Ontario's voters to wake up is anyone's guess. You're right - we've been brainwashed.

WiseGuy

monkey- Perhaps you are right. The evidence would suggest that to get elected you need to pander to special interests and follow political correctness, as it is laid out by the news media, Hollywood and the left.

I always made the mistake of thinking that you should make policy based on your core beliefs, moral code, and sound fiscal principals and then convince people of why you are right. I would not be able to defend a position I don't believe in, which would explain why I don't involve myself in politics.

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