Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Misser cabinet

First off, I'm happy that the new cabinet will have two Missers (a phrase I am now declaring coined, if no one else has) at the table, with Mississauga-Erindale MPP Harinder Takhar keeping his spot as minister of small business and entrepreneurship, and Peter Fonseca over in Mississauga-East getting a promotion to Tourism. While Harinder keeping his portfolio (small business being in Mississauga does make a lot of sense) is not a great surprise, and Fonseca getting into cabinet is as I predicted in a blog post last week (I figured either Fonseca or Sousa would get in, so my "Portuguese guy from Mississauga theory was correct) but I was slightly surprised at the portfolio. Tourism is generally given to someone from a well, "touristy" place, and while Mississauga is a great place to live, I wouldn't exactly call it a tourist destination.

Perhaps the Liberal government has a grand scheme to make the GTA West a hot spot of tourism. While Fonseca's riding does cover the "downtown" of Mississauga, and as such would probably be the focal point of any tourist development, for us down in the South, developing the lakefront would be a good tourist draw. and is something Sousa stressed during his campaign, to work towards turning Lakeview into "the Beaches of the West". Between Fonseca in Tourism, and Harinder in small business, Mississauga can probably expect some nice little investments over the next 4 years to help keep moving forward.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

What, me worry?


Hopefully, things like this can show that Dion's leadership of the party is in command, particularly given that the GTA is the powerbase for Rae, Ignatieff, and Kennedy. The annual meeting is a good step forward to ensure a connection between the Leadership and the grassroots, and combined with the upcoming LPC-O AGM, should be a good step forward in ensuring party unity and renewal.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sorbara leaving cabinet


Wow. This comes as a pretty big surprise. Sorbara, who is a close ally of McGuinty, and basically saved his ass after the 99' election, seemed pretty secure in his spot as Finance Minister, particularly after running the very successful re-election campaign. Sorbara said he "wants to spend time with his family", which could either be very true, or be a euphemism. While it is still too early to tell what Sorbara's resignation could mean from a policy perspective, to me, it raises two key points:

1. With McGuinty's closest cabinet ally quiting, is that a sign the next leadership race might be starting sooner than we think? I don't think Sorbara has an interest in being party leader/Premier, so I don't think he himself would make a run, but his departure could be a sign that the "old guard" of the party wants to make a peaceful exit before the gritty stuff happens. I do think that McGuinty, whose personal popularity is below that of the party and the Liberal brand, will probably want to pull a Bill Davis, and step down as leader whenever the polls are showing he is really popular, but I don't see that happening for at least a couple of years. As Sorbara was the 2nd in command, and such a close ally of McGuinty, it is hard to imagine anyone could muscle him out but McGuinty, and no reason why McGuinty would want to remove him is apparent.

2. The new cabinet will be wide open. Ian Urquhart wrote (http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/269115) about how Smithermann would be the key character in any cabinent shuffle, and that if Smithermann wanted to stay at Health, the cabinet would retain much of its current make-up, but if he wanted to move to another portfolio (the article discusses Environment) in preparation for a run for either party leadership, or for Mayor of Toronto, that would be a sign the cabinet would be more wide open. With Sorbara gone however, even if Smithermann does want to stay at Health, I think we can expect more of a major shuffle. The media buzz has focused on some of the more high-profile rookies, including Margarett Best in Scarborough-Guildwood, Sophia Aggelonitis in Hamilton Mountain, and my man Charles Sousa in Mississauga-South. I think Sophia is a good bet, being both a woman, and a Liberal in Hamilton, which is an NDP area, and Charles has a good shot too, since he won a traditionally PC seat that was supposed to be close so overwhelmingly, combined with media speculation about Harinder Takhar losing his portfolio, and the need to have a cabinet minister from Mississauga. I think that it is a safe bet that irregardless of what happens to Takhar, a Portuguese guy from Mississauga will be in cabinet, meaning either Charles in the South to both consolidate the gains made in a traditionally PC seat, and reward him for his victory, or Peter Fonseca, who has seniority over Sousa and has built himself a very nice power base and a safe seat in Mississauga East-Cooksville.

Outside Mississauga, look for former federal cabinet minister Aileen Carroll, who picked up Barrie, (the seat she used to represent federally) from the PC's, to be a fairly safe bet to get into cabinet. Kevin Flynn in Oakville has a shot, as does Deb Matthews, particularly as with the defeat of Caroline Di Cocco, the Liberals have a female, South-Western gap to fill. I also think that Kathleen Wynne, fresh of the victory over John Tory, might be a dark horse to get a promotion to finance minister. And be sure to watch the big names that have leadership whispers around them; Jim Watson, George Smithermann, Michael Bryant, and Dwight Duncan.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dion stands up for Canadian identity, and a democratic Quebec

I blogged about the PQ's thinly veiled "identity" bill (http://theliberalbag.blogspot.com/2007/10/pq-and-separatist-movement-has-not.html) previously, and now, thankfully and rightfully, Dion and the federal Liberals have entered the debate, to defend the values of the Quiet Revolution and a united, multi-ethnic, democratic Quebec.

"Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion called it a sovereigntist plot to broaden the French-English split and increase the PQ's popularity. He urged Marois to withdraw the bill.
"Thankfully we have a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which prevents certain politicians from going off the rails like she has," Dion said."

When people ask, "What do Liberals stand for?" this is a good example to point them towards: Defending democratic rights, making a united Canada work within the framework of the Charter, defending the rights of individual citizens under the law, and committed to the ideals of a just society and multiculturalism.

And what of the Conservatives, who claim to be "putting Canada on the right track?"

Labour Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn turned aside questions on the issue.

"That's their debate," Blackburn said, referring to provincial politicians.

Prime Minister Stephan Harper's office declined to comment.

Shameful. Apparently the Conservative vision for Canada is one of government apathy towards the rights of citizens. Although given the slashing of the Court Challenges Program, the stacking of the independent and trusted judiciary with socially regressive party hacks, and the desire to wantonly abandon all federal government power for the sake of vote buying, it is too be expected. Actions, statements, and views like these are another warning of what Canadians can expect from a Conservative majority.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Conservatives "false" plan for a war on drugs


The Conservatives have been ramping up the rhetoric recently on drugs in Canada, discussing the need to get "tough" on the issue, and that, in the words of Tony Clement, "The party's over". While the Conservatives had attempt to frame the issue as one of "safer communities and families", an examination of the actual issues and policy shows that the Conservative plan is focused on things they want to do very badly: ignore urban voters and issues (because urban voters won't vote Conservative anyway) kowtow to social conservatives in the party, attempt to win over suburban voters (who generally haven't, but might start voting Conservative) and blatantly copy Republican Party style rhetoric that is short on results but long on soundbites about "toughness" and "leadership".

Perhaps the prime example is the issue of safe injection sites. Despite clear results of the benefits of supervised injection programs, Conservatives want to ignore "inconvenient truths" about harm reduction because it is harder to sell to the base, and, because it requires seeing issues like drug use and abuse in more than nuanced terms, is difficult for Conservatives to remove the black and white tinted glasses.

Former mayor of Vancouver mayor Philip Owen, who invested in, and saw results from, Vancouver's drug safe-injection site, has called the plan "uninformed". Considering Harper is an economist, one would have assumed he would understand issues like supply and demand, but the Conservatives seem to be taking a page out the NDP playbook by ignoring basic rules of economics. By locking up drug dealers, both minor and major, yes, supply can be affected. But demand will still exist, and given the lack of emphasis on harm reduction in the Conservative plan, all that can result is a destructive cycle that will lead to ever more amounts of tax dollars being thrown away, less safe communities, and the high paradox of US-style drug policies, more criminals convicted, but a more broken system. A heavy-handed, paternalistic, freedom endangering drug policy can do no good for anyone. Drug polices must take into consideration those on the front lines of the struggle against abuse, rather than political convenience, and the Conservatives are showing a lack of leadership, and failing Canadians in this regard.

Friday, October 19, 2007

PQ and separatist movement has not evolved since "money and the ethnic vote"

With hearings on "reasonable accommodation" going on, and the PQ eager to gain back nationalist voters from the regions who voted ADQ because Mario Dumont raised the Montreal Muslim boogeyman more often, it is unsuprising to see the PQ table such an offensive and less subtle motion. While Marois also discusses the need for more French learning programs for immigrants, which is a fairly uncontroversial idea that could help both the tensions of accommodation and the economy, the main thrust of this bill is simple: discourage immigrants from joining the political process. With the ADQ, the federal Conservatives, and even now the PQ looking to roll back the Quiet Revoultion and using increasingly xenophobic rhetoric in hope of picking up nationalist votes, Liberals and Liberalism in Quebec must clearly draw a position in favour of tolerance, secularism, and cultural growth as part of a framing agenda to protect the values of Quebec within Canada. Never forget the words of liberal thinker and forerunner of the Quiet Revolution, Jean-Charles Harvey: "French has a chance of survival only if it becomes the synonym of audacity, culture, civilization and liberty". Liberals must show they are the party of audacity, culture, civilization and liberty.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ottawa Centre

So Yasir Naqvi managed to hold on to Ottawa Centre from the NDP, who had this as one of their top targets. What does this mean for the riding federally?

The NDP does own the seat federally, with Paul Dewar being the incumbent. His victory over arch-Martinite Richard Mahoney in 2006 was somewhat of a surprise, as it was thought that Mahoney (who had he been elected would have most certainly been given a high level cabinet post) had only lost to the NDP in 2004 because former leader and living legend Ed Broadbent was the candidate. Let's examine the both the 2000 and 2004 Federal results:


Mac Harb

New Democrat
Heather-Jane Robertson

Canadian Alliance
David Brown

Progressive Conservative
Beverly Mitchell

Chris Bradshaw

In 2000, an election which saw Chretien at the height of his power, the Liberals easily held the seat. In 2004:

New Democrat
Ed Broadbent

Richard Mahoney

Mike Murphy

David Chernushenko

A massive surge for the NDP, a drop for the Liberals, and the growth of the Greens are all notable here. Now, making allowances for the drop the Liberals saw overall in this election, and the star candidate make the NDP victory less surprising in retrospect. By 2006 however, the Liberals wanted the seat, and given that Broadbent was not running for re-election, Mahoney was figured by many to have a much easier go. The results though, didn't pan out:


Paul Dewar

MAHONEY, Richard



Another NDP victory, although both the NDP and the Liberals appear to have lost some overall percentage to the rising Greens and Conservatives. Something to remember though, the rough breakdown of the votes was 35%-30%-20%-10%.

Lets examine the provincial scene. The incumbent Liberal, Richard Patten, had been around forever, and left in a bit of a huff, (although he still played an active role supporting Yasir's campaign) leaving the riding fairly open. In step 4 youngsters in Yasir Naqvi, Will Murray, Trina Morissette and Greg Laxton to try and win the divided riding, although only Yasir and Will had an actual chance, save for a massive PC lifting. For context, here are the 2003 provincial results:

Richard Patten

New Democrat
Jeff Atkinson

Progressive Conservative
Joe Varner

Chris Bradshaw

So Richard has a fairly safe seat, and the NDP and PC's battle it out for second. Oddly enough, a glance at the provincial results show that although the PC's never won the seat, they were extremely competitive, coming in under 10% behind in every election from 1967-1981, and after that, finishing well behind the eventual winner, with the exception of 1999, coming in 6% behind.

Now, in between the last provincial election and the 2007 one, the NDP had won the riding fairly convincingly twice, and seen the long-time incumbent MPP leave. Ottawa Centre was probably amongst the top 5 targets for the NDP in this election, and a must win seat if they had wished to hold the balance of power in a minority situation. They focused lots of resources on the seat, with federal MP Paul Dewar showing his face frequently, and numerous visits by Howard Hampton. The Liberals ran a tough campaign, wanting to show the NDP that they didn't own the riding yet. The results are as follows:

Yasir Naqvi

New Democrat
Will Murray

Progressive Conservative
Trina Morissette

Greg Laxton

So what do we see? My first reaction was that the share of votes for each parties position was nearly the exact same as the previous federal election, with the winner taking 35%, the runner up 30%, (with the actual winner and loser being reversed) and the Conservative and Green votes remaining similar, at 20-ish% and 10-ish percent. Now of course, federal and provincial dynamics are different, but I can draw similarities between Yasir and Paul's victory. Both saw victory despite a decline in overall vote share, both were running to take over from high profile incumbents, and both faced tough fights. Overall, the fact that we were able to run a more effective campaign is what kept the riding Liberal. Will Murray had a potential pool of 40% of the voters who went NDP only 3 years ago, and was only able to get 30%, while Yasir and his team were able to raise the Liberal vote from below 30% to a victory. The victory was certainly a morale raiser, and should help the team manage to get Penny Collenette a very good shot at knocking off Paul Dewar, who didn't seem to help Will Murray much.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

On Victory

I remember when I first started working on Charles' campaign way back in June. We had no literature save for a general piece about the budget that we had slapped a Sousa sticker on. We had no campaign HQ, we were basically operating out of the back of Charles' van and kitchen. I would go over to Charles' house, and if he was stuck and traffic and was late, his wife would feed me spaghetti apologetically. All the days, weeks, and months of knocking on doors, dropping literature, making phone calls, fundraising, and everything else paid off. I was expecting a Sousa victory of course, but the size of it stunned even me. I assumed we would win in a very tight race, and so did everyone else, but I can't complain about getting 47% of the vote in a riding that used to be one of the safest PC seats in the province. Everyone on the team worked so hard for the victory, and I was honoured to be working on his campaign. Mr. Sousa will be a wonderful MPP for Mississauga South, and will ensure that we keep moving forward.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

10 reasons to vote against Tim Peterson

1. His floor crossing showed his lack of respect for the democratic process and the people of Mississauga South

2. He does not have a single idea or thought that was not first had by John Tory

3. He would be Queen's Park voice in Mississauga South, not Mississauga South's voice in Queen's Park

4. His weakness and indecivness on faith based schools, refusing to take a clear position on the issue

5. He crossed the floor not out of conviction or purpose, but because he didn't think he could get re-elected as a Liberal after the riding boundary re-adjustment

6. Was handed PC nomination in an undemocratic process criticized by previous PC MPP Margaret Marland called "despicable"

7. Sold out the family business

8. Turned his back on the investments made by the Liberal government in Peel and embraced a PC legacy of cuts and downloading.

9. On every issue he claimed was a reason for leaving the Liberals, he had prior praised the government on

10. Because Charles Sousa simply deserves it

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Tim Peterson's lack of leadership on faith-based schools

While Ottawa Centre Progressive Conservative candidate Trina Morissette is far from my favourite person (both politically, and personally, the first time I met her at a Carleton Campus Conservative meeting I was attending because several of my friends are involved she lectured my ear off for about 5 minutes after she found out I was a Liberal) at least she has taken a stance on the John Tory destroying issue of the campaign, faith based funding. Trina has always been a firm supporter of the plan, and pledged to vote in favour of it if elected and the Conservatives form government. Now as the Conservatives are going to be in opposition benches for awhile now, and Trina herself has/had zero chance of winning her left-leaning riding, it may just be her attempt to gain favour with party insiders, or at the very least, appear to take a stand. Now while Trina's stance is obviously wrong, I do give her credit for taking a stance.
Tim Peterson, the current pseudo-incumbent in Mississauga South, fails in this regard. As the only PC candidate currently in office, Peterson is the standard bearer for John Tory in this city. And yet while other PC candidates such as Mississauga East-Cooksville candidate Zoran Churchin, who has come out loudly against the plan, as has Nina Tangri, the Mississauga-Streetsville candidate, and Mississauga-Erindale candidate David Brown who seems moderately in favour of the plan, Peterson has refused to take a clear stand on the issue, which given his flip flopping, floor crossing ways is not a surprise.
In the Mississauga News:
"Tim Peterson, the Mississauga South candidate and only PC incumbent in Mississauga, also said he'd wait for the legislation and vote based on the will of his constituents. "Certainly my community leans against it, but I want to talk to them and see what the options are and what the legislation is," Peterson said. He added, "There's also quite a strong feeling that came out that everybody was surprised by, that there should be no funding for any faith-based schools, including the Catholics. We have to look at that as a possibility, too."
I find it supremely ironic that Tim is discussing following the will of his constituents, because his track record on that is hardly stellar. So basically, although you've known the content of the platform since you joined the party, you've had months to talk to policy advisers, community leaders, and the people of Mississauga South, you are still "undecided", and will basically vote as the polls see fit. Also apparently getting rid of Catholic schools are going to be part of the Progressive Conservative plan, according to Mr. Peterson.
The official press release is no better:
" John Tory is a principled Leader who listens to people. He has heard the message from people that there are different views across Ontario about his plan to bring faith-based schools into the public education system. As a result, John Tory confirmed today that he would ensure a free vote at Queen’s Park on this issue, demonstrating that he is listening to the concerns that were raised. I will consult with you, the people of Mississauga South by telephone, fax, Internet and mail to ensure your views are heard and I will vote according to your views. As you know, I feel passionately about representing your concerns. Over the last four years, Dalton McGuinty and his government have failed to address the many problems that confront you. I welcome the opportunity to continue working for you. I ask for your support and vote on October 10th. "
Yes, because principled leaders change the central campaign plank mid-election. Apparently Howard Hampton will wake up tomorrow and realize he better start campaigning in favour of the MPP pay rise (although given 2 of the NDP members didn't attend the vote on the raise because they privately agreed with it, maybe this isn't such a long shot).
So basically, if you vote for Tim, according to this release, you are voting for a candidate who hasn't made up his mind, is indecisive, and needs more time to come up with an about-face answer. That is not leadership, and that is not what Mississauga South needs.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The meaning of signs

I've always been interested in the ways people visually identfy themselves politically. This has brought me to an interest in pins and buttons obviously, but also posters and signs. Having been in a number of different ridings over the course of the election, the differences and similarities between the parties and candidates is very interesting.


Charles Sousa-Mississauga South, Yasir Naqvi-Ottawa Centre

Most Liberals don't stray very far from the template, as seen above. Strikes a nice balance between the central party and the candidates individual name, and the candidates personal website. The only candidates who I've noticed have different signs are Ministers like Jim Watson, who I included in the collage above. Jim has had that "re-elect a good MPP" since forever, and was allowed to grandfather it in. Dalton also has a few different designs, seen here: Image and video hosting by TinyPic although he also has plenty of "standard" designs.

I'm assuming Ministers have more choice in choosing a custom sign vs. a standard sign, such as Kathleen Wynne's standard bags: Image and video hosting by TinyPic

compared to George Smitherman's "last name only" signs

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The template is designed to show both party solidarity, and highlight the individual, which is a good reflection of the Liberal team values.

Progressive Conservatives

Tim Peterson-Mississauga South, Trina Morissette-Ottawa Centre

Now here is a good example of how psychology can effect a candidate and his or her sign choices. Tim Peterson, the floor crosser, has a sign that has little Conservative blue in it, and has that stupid by-line "Your John Tory Candidate" as well as a link to the "leadership matters" campaign website. For Tim at the start of the campaign, this would have made sense. First, avoid using partisan colours as much as possible. In the period in which he was an Independent, Tim largely stuck to a neutral yellow and grey template in his literature, his MPP website, and in this official photo.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

So using a white sign to try and give something of a non-partisan image makes sense. As does the ignoring of everything Tim Peterson related but the actual name on the sign. "John Tory candidate" is because Tim's entire platform is John Tory, and was thought up in the pre-flip flop days when Conservative candidates thought Tory would lead them into to promised land with his leadership on faith-based funding, instead of electoral oblivion. Same goes for the "leadership matters" webpage. For those of you who still doubt the slavish devoution Tim has for all things John Tory, look at this banner outside his campaign office.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

You can't really get a proper scope of size from that photo, but this thing is HUGE. With Peterson headed for defeat at the hands of Mr. Sousa, perhaps he will ponder what could have been had his attendtence record not been so poor, and his floor crossing not so unpopularly recieved.

Trina is a whole different story. Unlike the psedo-incumbant Tim, Trina would never have won her seat, even in a best case scenario, considering Ottawa Centre is a Liberal-NDP battleground. But her sign is all Conservative blue, has her own personal website listed, and none of that "John Tory for insert every riding in province" bull here. She also has the riding listed, which is something that is becoming increasingly rare on political signs.

It is important to note that both Trina and Tim's signs have the PC logo cramed in as small as legally possible, probably to avoid voters connecting the candidates to the Harris days. Shocking, how voters have a tendancy to hold parties responsible for what they did in government.

New Democratic Party

Ken Cole-Mississauga South, Will Murray-Ottawa Centre

I couldn't actually find any online pictures of Ken and Will's signs, but since they both use the same template as shown in the collage, it is not a huge loss. The NDP, more so even than the Liberals, are very focused on consistancy in signs. The only difference in any signs I've seen personally or could find online is that Lynn Hamilton in Ottawa West uses a someone darker shade of orange, and Ric Dagenais in Ottawa Vanier uses a different template, white background with black text and orange and green highlights, which I couldn't find pictures of. Oh, and Ric and Will both have the bi-lingual aspect on the signs, with NDP alongside NPD.

That Ken and Will would use the same design is interesting. The NDP design as is seems to focus much more on the candidate, with the NDP (or NPD) logo cramed into the green highlight. Ken in Mississauga South faces an unwinnable fight, as the NDP has struggled, particularly in the last few decades, to even put in a respectable showing, usually finishing with below 10%. Ken might be better served with the current signs, as the NDP brand is not particularly strong here, and he does have some name exposure from being the perpetual NDP candidate, having run in the last few provincial elections and one recentish federal election for the Dippers.

Will Murray however, is locked in a tight battle with the Liberals, in a seat the NDP already have federally. Given Murray's profile (like all the major candidates, to be frank) is somewhat low, I would have figured Murray would strongly rely on the NDP brand name to help him out in an area that has elected NDP'ers both federally and provincially before. Both signs also fail to mention the individual website, and provide a link to the party one, although the green shadow used on the white text makes it very hard to read the smaller print of the website adress from any sort of reasonable difference. Lynn Hamilton's slightly darker shade of orange makes the website somewhat easier to see.
David Johnson-Mississauga South, Greg Laxton-Ottawa Centre
Couldn't find any pictures of David's signs, but they are the same template as Greg's. The Green signs are a classic example of placing brand first. The last name of the candidate is large enough to get you to remember it, but the main emphasis is on the colour green, and the word "green" (dunno why they like lowercase so much). This makes sense considering the Green brand rather than the individual candidates are more likely to pick up voters. The Greens further shun individuality by giving the party website, as opposed to the candidate website, and interestingly, follow the PC's in placing the election slogan ("Real Issues. Real Answers") on the signs.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

NDP-Green Dynamics



So the 2 parties which can't form government are starting to fight with each other. What I can say from personal experience is that de Jong is basically correct when he accuses the NDP of attempting to spread misinformation on the Green platform and try to convince Green voters that the party is something it's not. NDP canvassers are told to knock on doors that have Green Party signs on the lawn, and "enlighten" the voters about the Greens "real" position. They try to paint the Greens as eco-libertarians, and that good leftish voters have no business voting for them.

I can imagine this strategy is being less successful this time around for a number of reasons. Firstly, this is the first election in which the Greens have actually gotten publicity and coverage, so voters who have decided to vote Green are probably aware and agree with the Green platform, as opposed to just the Green brand. Secondly, given that the rise in Green numbers hasn't been matched in a fall in NDP numbers, many voters who will be voting Green this election are likely Conservative voters turned off by faith based, or Dalton disliking Liberals, who are attracted to the Green's eco-capitalist ideas and emphasis on fiscal responsibility, so they wouldn't be attracted towards the NDP anyway. Having to deal with the Greens is probably the last thing Hampton and the NDP want at this point in the campaign, as they want to try to pick up leftish Liberals voters and maybe disgruntled Tory's who want to cast a protest vote in narrow ridings. For the Greens, any publicity is good publicity, and expect de Jong to continue to attack the NDP for the next couple of days to try and get Hampton off message.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Because "leadership" is flip-flopping on your central campaign theme


"In Guelph last Monday, Mr. Tory said: "It's obviously an important element of our platform and I would expect that people will support what's in our platform. It's do what you said you would do."

That was then.

"MPPs will be allowed a free so that they are at liberty to vote their conscience and represent the wishes of their constituents...Through this free vote, in this significant way, the public can be more involved in the decision making."

A week or so, and a 10 point Liberal lead later, this is now.

And of course, "leadership" is also being attacked by members of your own party:

"One long-time Mr. Tory said the decision “reinforces” the impression among some that Mr. Tory has bad judgment. “The rest of his policies are all so mushy,” said the source. “It didn’t give him any place to go when he came forward with the faith-based thing.Here’s one big policy and the rest is all so vague and mush that he didn’t have an escape hatch.”

And of course, "leadership" is having front bench members discuss leadership races during campaign crunch time.

"Supporters loyal to Mr. Hudak and Mr. Flaherty (and potentially Ms. Elliott) have been distancing themselves from the faith-based “fiasco” lately, the source said, telling party activists that the unpopular funding approach was always second best to a tax credit. Some party members think Mr. Klees, a social conservative who lost to Mr. Tory in the September 2004 leadership race, would have difficulties running again. He is widely credited as the force behind Tory’s disastrous religious school funding policy. "

Greg Sorbara, Finance Minister and Liberal campaign chief, I think, says it best:

“It took an awful lot of gall on Mr. Tory’s part , today of all days, to talk about leadership and his special style of leadership...this is an appalling example of bad leadership and weak judgment. The fact is, the issue remains the same. Mr. Tory proposes to continue the debate into the next two, three or four years with all of the incumbent destabilization in public education, all of the division, all of the rancor.”

Leadership is restoring balance to the public system and civil society as a whole after the 8 years of mean-spirited cuts, public sector chaos, and fiscal mismanagement that is the legacy of the Harris/Eves governments. Leadership making the tough choices that serve the people, not political personality. Dalton McGuinty has displayed leadership in 4 years by acting less like a polititan, and more like a public servant. Leadership is also admiting areas that you've fallen short, and setting acheiveable and reasonable goals to fix those problems, and keep moving forward. John Tory's "leadership" as demonstrated throughout the campaign is empty promises, Karl Rove style negativity, glossed over platforms, and now, flip floping.

As I always say, John Tory is right about one thing, leadership does matter, and John Tory is not a leader.

EDIT: This: http://www.thestar.com/OntarioElection/article/262654 is hilarious!

"Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory’s scramble to change the channel from his flip-flop on funding faith-based schools suffered a setback this morning when a former party supporter ambushed him in a Scarborough supermarket."

Charles Sousa, Mississauga South Liberal Candidate, on health care

In 2003, the future of our publicly funded health care system was at risk.

There weren’t enough family physicians, wait times weren’t being measured let alone reduced, and hospitals were being closed.

The Liberal government is making real progress.

We set ambitious targets to combat wait times and we have met those targets. In Mississauga South, we invested in the Trillium Health Centre as part of our successful Wait Time Strategy. As a result, wait times have been reduced by 78% for angiography, 57% for angioplasty, 64% for cataract surgery, 26% for hip replacements, 42% for knee replacements, 23% for cancer surgeries, 48% for CT scans and 41% for MRIs.

We have invested millions to redevelop and expand our local hospitals. Construction of a new wing at the Trillium Health Centre is underway and will include 135 beds, as well as expand cardiac surgery, diagnostic, intensive care and support services. Credit Valley Hospital is undergoing an expansion that includes additional beds, operating and procedure rooms, and space for clinical services, including complex continuing care and palliative care.

We’ve invested in medical technology so that we can offer the best treatments and services available closer to home, including a new MRI machine at the Trillium Health Centre and a cancer centre and radiation treatment bunker at Credit Valley Hospital.

We’ve also delivered better access to family doctors. Half a million more Ontarians now have access to a family doctor thanks to increased medical school spaces, 150 new Family Health Teams and an expanded number of spaces for internationally trained doctors so they can practice medicine here. Starting in 2008, some of these doctors will be trained in our community at the new University of Toronto at Mississauga medical campus.

And we’re going to do more. Our plan to further strengthen health care means that we will deliver 50 more Family Health Teams, create 100 more medical school spaces and accredit more internationally trained doctors so that another 500,000 more Ontarians will have access to a family doctor.

We will also expand our progress on wait times to more services: emergency room visits, children’s surgery and general surgery.

In contrast, John Tory intends to rip $3 billion out of public health care, plus another $1.5 billion in unidentified cuts, which puts the progress we’ve made in health care at risk.

We’ve come a long way since the days of firing nurses and closing hospitals. We can’t afford to turn back to the days of Conservative cuts and neglect.

On October 10th I ask for your support – together, we can keep Ontario moving forward.