Rob Ford didn't get elected mayor of Toronto because he has good hair, like the former mayor, David Miller, or because he's slim and has a good pedigree, like Justin Trudeau. He got elected by promising to go after the city unions and their spend-happy councillor enablers. Ford wasted little time talking about his main opponent, George Smithermen. He just kept pounding home the message that he would stop the gravy train and ensure, "Respect for Taxpayers." For anyone in Toronto, that was code for, "I'll get those greedy, arrogant garbage workers who forced you to endure a five week strike in the middle of a hot summer last year."
The memory of that strike was very fresh four years ago. One story that did untold damage to the union reputation was of a senior citizen forced by union members to walk a 1/2 kilometer in the hot sun, carrying her one allowed bag of garbage, so that she could drop in on the stinking temporary pile. Of course she had to walk back to her car too. This is just one example of how the union enraged the voters. Worse, Mayor David Miller spent most of the strike haranguing citizens and promising that they would be severely punished if they illegally dumped. Everyone knew he was in the union's pocket, especially after he caved in to their demands. I suspect he took one look at the polls after that debacle and decided to quit rather than face humiliating defeat.
In Ontario, people still remember last year's teachers' work to rule, and believe me, we parents are still peeved. I recall showing up at 6:30 at my son's middle school for a parent-teacher night. Many parents had rushed home from work, wolfed down a quick dinner, and hurried over to find out how their children were doing at school, only to discover that the teachers had all left in protest without notice three hours earlier. Most of us are on the school's e-mail list, so sending out a warning that the teachers would not be there would've been simple, but the teachers kept their protest a secret until the last minute because they wanted parents to be inconvenienced. They wanted to hurt us under the mistaken assumption that we'd all blame McGuinty and call our MPPs. It never occurred to them that we would blame the people who beat rush hour every day by leaving for home as early as 3:30 pm, even when there isn't a work-to-rule.
The greatest damage to the tories is being done by the Working Families, so it's time to attack them. It's very simple. Make the following statements over ominous music:
The unions, including the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation, fund the advertising of the Working Families.
In the last election, Working Families spent big money on ads attacking Tim Hudak and the Progressive Conservatives.
The Teachers' unions also supported Kathleen Wynn's bid to become the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.
Now they're again attacking Tim Hudak and the Progressive Conservatives.
What are they afraid of?
It's time for a government that represents all the people of Ontario, not just union members. Paid for by the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.
This ad will make all the advertising of the Working Families toxic. Each attack ad aimed at the tories will suddenly sound self-serving. Remember, most voters don't know who funds the Working Families, which is why their advertising is so effective. Educate voters and you will irreparably damage the brand of the Working Familes, and all their future advertising will only hurt their cause.
Obviously, numbers would be good. I'm pretty sure researchers can say exactly how much Working Families spent on attack ads in the last election, and I'm pretty sure it's a matter of public record about who contributed to Kathleen Wynn's bid for Liberal leadership and how much. It wouldn't hurt to mention that Wynn gave the teachers a huge settlement in exchange for labour peace as soon as she took control.
In order to pay for this advertising, simply cease all attack ads against Wynn. She looks like a grandmother, like everyone's grandmother, and attacking a grandmother makes you look weak.
Tim Hudak and the Progressive Conservatives need to remember that no union members are going to vote for them anyway. Attacking the unions is win-win.