Sunday, June 21, 2009

A couple thoughts on Christine Elliott

Christina Blizzard basically endorses Elliott here:

And the Toronto Star gives a run down on how each candidate, including Elliott, would push the party to the right:

Blizzard says of Elliott, who has tried to run in the Red Tory mold;

"From where I'm sitting, anyone who has the audacity to quietly speak about compassion in the middle of a Tory leadership campaign is getting a message across loud and clear."

Elliott's championing of herself as a "compassionate conservative" and a Red Tory is largely a result of Elliott trying to outflank the other three competitors, who are various shades of deep blue, by going after the centrist grassroots voters, and to a degree, an echo chamber effect, in which Elliott says she is moderate and compassionate, so the media reports it as is.

The Star article is interesting because it points out that despite Elliott's admittedly Red Tory rhetoric, her actual proposed policies are far outside centrism. This includes the Harrisite policies of a minimum wage freeze and a 60-hour work week, and most importantly, a flat tax, which for all the meowing over human rights in the PC leadership race, is by far the most politically toxic proposal to emerge (and tellingly, is the most visible economic policy in a race whose policy issues have largely been defined by the radical Randy Hillier).

In my experience in talking to my PC supporting friends, Elliott is not particularly popular because of her Red Tory rhetoric. Blizzard says that Liberals would fear Elliott the most, and perhaps in the long-run, she would pose the most threat, but looking in the medium-term to 2011, I believe Elliott would be rather good for the Ontario Liberals, because of the difficulty I believe she would have in getting the party election ready and behind her leadership. Quite simply, the same right-wing flank that so often made John Tory's hold on the party difficult, or influenced him into taking more right-wing positions than he was comfortable taking, would continue to cause trouble under Elliott.

Many Common Sense Revolutionaries of the Hudak camp or the rural malcontents of the Hillier camp would chaff at the prospect of being led into an election by another moderate GTA'er, and despite Elliott laying down her so called Path to Victory, I think Elliott will find it difficult to enact her plan when significant chunks of the party see her as either John Tory/Dalton McGuinty (and many Ontario PC's say they had difficulty telling them apart) in a skirt, including the nearly 200,000 PC voters who either stayed home last election or cast a protest vote for the Green Party.

Of course, as voting starts today this could all be for nothing and one of her more right wing competitors will win.


Anonymous said...

Here's why I think Elliott would still pose a threat to McGuinty. Despite his political experience, there is one thing about McGuinty that he is not very good at: dealing with women.

This is a guy who married his high school girlfriend and has been with her ever since. I'm not saying one's personal experience in dealing with women affects one's ability to run against a female opponent. However, based on past examples McGuinty's dealings with female political opponents is less than stellar.

Look at his sanctioning of the smear tactics against Cheri DiNovo during the Parkdale High Park by-election. Look at how nervous he is and avoiding eye contact when Andrea Horwath asks him a question during QP. If Elliott wins this race, McGuinty will be facing two major parties lead by females in 2011.

Since the only woman he really knows well is his own wife, who would hardly criticize him anyway, McGuinty may not be able to figure out a good strategy to counteract attacks from his leading opponents next time around. But we'll see what the future holds.

The Liberal Scarf said...

The potential dynamic of Horwath and Elliott as party leaders vs. Mcguinty is definately interesting. I don't know if the Parkdale High Park by-election is really solid evidence (I could say the smear tactics used by the ONDP in the 2001 Beaches-East York by-election shows they can't deal with men).

However, the Ontario Liberals should be working on giving some female MPP's and cabinet ministers more visability I think.