So Hugh Arrison, the financial consultant, won the Conservative nomination for Mississauga South. Given that Arrison won on the first ballot, it is likely Mississauga South Conservative spurned Ted Opitz, who faced concerns over his outsider image as he is actually from Etobicoke. So what does Arrison as a candidate mean? Well, he isn't a star candidate by any stretch, and Don Plett, when he spoke at the last AGM, openly stated the Tories were looking for one for this riding. I've speculated that the lack of one might further indicate that the Conservatives have moved Mississauga South down the target list. Arrison's first ballot victory (in a 3 horse race) would indicate that his team has at least decent organizational skills, and in a close race, could bring out the vote. Although the economy is always an important factor in any race, Arrison's background as a financial consultant and Szabo's as a chartered account as a finance man for many organizations should bring this to the forefront.
Now, how can the Liberals beat Arrison?
-Talk about (and bring to light more) Arrison's Alberta Conservative roots, (which include an endorsement from Peter Lougheed) and what this means for Ontario suburbs, highlighting the failures of the Alberta-centric Conservative Party towards the needs of the growing GTA suburbs, and how Arrison is an agent for a lack of progress in important local areas.
-Highlight the failures of the Conservatives and how they clash with Arrison's values during the nomination. On Arrison's website, he says:
"But mostly I believe in: ACCOUNTABILITY “Walk your Talk” And in continuing to reform our political institutions and processes to make them more open, democratic and accountable … to YOU."
A rundown of Conservative hypocrisy is enough to paint Arrison as more of the same double-talk that the Conservatives offer.
-Particularly compare the Conservative "accountability" that Arrison claims to represent with Szabo's chairmanship of the Ethics committee.
-While much of the rise in the Green vote in the GTA in the provincial election can be attributed to annoyed Conservatives and pro-secular schools activists, the rise of the environment in the suburbs cannot be ignored. Ridings like Mississauga South show the importance of why the tax shift must be argued, and argued well. If the shift can be sold as a pro-environment measure, with revenue neutrality, it can be a big hit amongst suburban voters, who do care about the environment, but ultimately will put the economy and pocketbooks first. If self doubt about the shift continues amongst Liberals, and real flesh is not put to the bones first, the Tories can jump on it, and tax resistive suburbanites will help make swing GTA ridings like Mississauga South, Oakville, and Mississauga Erindale go blue. These are the ridings the Liberals need to hold/win if they wish to form government.