So Tory is staying on with the Joe Clark number. I've got a few questions, and some guessing answers.
1. Is Tory planning to actually re-sign in the long term, and his staying on as leader is simply a way to ensure short term stability?
2. If Tory does resign, would he pull a Clark and run to succeed himself? I think if he did resign he might do this, because there really isn't any other high profile challenger, and in a new leadership race, all Tory would need is 50%+1
3. Something in the Globe and Mail article caught my eye:
One of his staff members confirmed that Mr. Tory dropped in on a party last night held by members of the group seeking to oust him. The party was hosted by Effie Triantafilopoulos, the burned candidate in the riding of Mississauga South who had to step aside for Tim Peterson after he crossed the floor from the Liberals to the Tories.
The evening ended with a large group photo taken with Ms. Triantafilopoulos and Mr. Tory right in the middle smiling, a source said.
Might Effie be in line for an appointment as the federal Conservative candidate? Effie publicly declared that she did hold her nose and vote for Tim, and with Tory definitely making a reach out, the Mississauga South conservative family is probably trying to get back together. I have heard some rumours that the Conservatives have been deliberately stretching out the nomination race (which has been going on since the party bizarrely vetoed Phil Green running again) which is becoming increasingly crowded, in case a star candidate comes along. As Mississauga South (minus the Durham seats, which are at the extreme end of the GTA, as well as Mississauga Streetsville, which will go back to being a Liberal held seat) is the Conservatives best shot at winning in the GTA, they will for sure be focusing tons of resources on it, and you better believe they would want a candidate that would re-motivate the conservative base, and Effie would be one who could do that. A few months back, incumbent Liberal MP Paul Szabo sent out a fundraising letter saying that the need for cash was particularly important, as he felt he would be facing a "well funded, high profile" candidate.
4. If Tory does want to stay on in the long-term, which MPP gives up a seat, or will he remain seatless? If Tory is realistic about staying on, he needs a seat, or else he will become irrelevant. The new MPP for his old seat of Dufferin Caledon has been very adamant about not giving it up, and no rural backbencher has given signs of wanting to give up a seat. It would be interesting if Tory, who made his desire to win over urban centres, and ran in his home riding of Don Valley West in Toronto, were to run in Thornhill, the only Toronto seat gained by the PC's, or relegated himself to being a parachute candidate in a rural riding. I doubt he will be able to convince the PC MPP in Thornhill to give his seat up, (particularly as he won it narrowly) so if Tory does get a seat, expect it to be far from the urban and suburban voters Tory needs to win over.
5. If Tory wants to stay on long-term, how fast, and how far, to the right will he sprint to win over disgruntled grassroots who thought the last PC platform was just a re-wording of the Liberal platform (which it was)? Given that figures on the right of the party are leading the charge against Tory, and have a very large foothold against his leadership, Tory will have to pull some impressive policy flip-flops in order to please them. Watch Tory's next few policy statements closely, if he continues to sound like a Red Tory centrist, then I think he is just staying on in the short term for stability reasons, but if he cuts hard to the right, he is probably aiming to stay on in the long run.
6. If Tory does go down at some point, who would run for the leadership? Jim Flaherty is obviously amongst those opposed to Tory's leadership, but I don't see him jumping from the federal cabinet to the provincial opposition benches. I've heard John Baird tossed around, but I don't see him taking the plunge either, I think it will either be someone already from the provincial ranks, or an outsider. Names commonly tossed around are Tim Hudak, Randy Hillier, Lisa MacLeod, and Christine Elliot. I'm also going to go ahead and toss out Pinball Clemons as outsider candidate, based on nothing but a guess. I don't think the leader of the anti-Tory movement, Rueben Devlin, would give it a run.