Sunday, February 24, 2008

Waking up from a bad dream

So John Tory is still leader of the Progressive Conservative Party. Ontario's nightmare appears doomed to continue. So if misery loves company dear reader, be comforted by the fact that today I am Blue Like You.

That being said, I made a promise to stop slagging Tory once a decision was made and I intend to keep it. At this point the party must attempt to come together or we will end up in the same position as the Federal Liberals.

John Tory has a huge task in front of him. The party is now made up of two solitudes, and the schism lies not only in division of support for him, but also in the urban vs. rural composition of the electorate in Ontario.

This morning Marianne Meed Ward offers some advice to John Tory (The Blame Game). She suggests that it's the party that needs to be reinvented rather than the leader.

Meed Ward 'advice' boils down to pandering to Toronto in order to win the next election:

...Unless the party undertakes a makeover, it will continue to be shut out here. And as the GTA goes, so goes the province...

Of course, the Liberals and NDP do just that. Should the Conservatives follow suit and ignore the rural needs? I don't think so. We've seen enough of that already and it doesn't work for Tories. Political alliance is almost a religion - especially in Toronto. When you already have Orange and Red choices, why settle for Purple?

Trying to woo GTA voters will only serve to further alienate the rural ones.

John Tory has promised us to build the party into one that is a clear alternative to the Liberal party. Pandering to Toronto will not accomplish that goal.

I will agree with Marianne Meed Ward on this point - The party does need to go through a period of careful introspection and decide what it really stands for.

This requires giving the grass roots a real voice and actively listening. It requires a platform built on issues that appeal to the whole province - like health care, safety, a strong economy and being good stewards of our resources.

It means working towards a province where the application of the rule of law is not divided along racial lines.

First, let's have a vision of where we want Ontario to go. Then we can work towards setting the plan into action.


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Update: Greg Weston confirms my theory about the Liberal 'Lemming' mentality - Rote, rote, rote your vote (Meant to apply to Federal politics, but I think we can extend the concept to provincial as well):

The average Conservative supporter is driven by policies, hordes of Liberals vote by rote and tradition, and leadership is barely a factor in the current popularity of any of the federal parties...

...Conservative voters seem to be driven by ideology more than anything else -- things such as taxes, crime and defence...

...about 60% of Liberal support is based on habit and intangibles...


That sure doesn't say much for the political acuity of the average Liberal voter.

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Actual survey here via Siscoe.



8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would like to congratulate John Tory and thank him for giving me a night off for the next Ontario election. Given the choice between two liberal candidates I will stay home.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Given the choice between two liberal candidates I will stay home.

I can hear Kinsella cheering from here.

aek said...

First John Tory was unsure whether getting the same level of endorsement as what led Joe Clark to immediately resign and call a leadership race was enough to cling to power.

"There are people I want to consult," he told delegates, many of whom exchanged puzzled looks at the ambiguous result. "I want to talk to (my wife) Barb, I want to talk to our family, I want to talk to our caucus colleagues and I want to make sure I see as many of you as I can."

Shortly afterwards, it looks like he decided that the advice of six caucus members and his wife was all the consulting he needed:

"Three-and-a-half hours later, just after 9:30 pm, Tory took to the stage at a post-dinner awards ceremony and announced he was done consulting. He said a conversation with his wife and another with six caucus members had changed his mind.

"She . . . gave me her 100-per-cent enthusiastic support to carry on in this job," Tory told party members."

As for his vow that "I have to change", well, he already did - by dropping his commitment to consult "as many of you as I can."

Go, John, Go!!

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid that both provincially and federally the tories are hindered by a fundamental flaw in our approach to voters. We simply give them far to much credit for intellect. Presenting good policies with logical reasoning will not win elections. The liberals learned long ago that the bulk of the votes are in the bottom two thirds of the bell curve, and that group vote on simplistic sound bites and visceral emotional responses without any consideration or analysis of the issues.
I don't have kids, but saw the logic in the faith based schooling idea. I thought it was good policy but also thought it was politically stupid. All it took to kill the party was the specter of one provincially funded jihadist school to win the day for the libs, and they happily took grasped the opportunity (funny how a party that claims to represent minorities will happily disparage one when its politically advantageous).
That's why every third word from a federal liberal's mouth when he's talking about the tories is "Bush" - because the liberals have fostered a Canadian hatred of the US, personified by Bush, and they know that all they have to do is describe any tory policy as "bush-..." and it will immediately get that visceral response they want.

Anonymous said...

"Trying to woo GTA voters will only serve to further alienate the rural ones."

Strictly looking at the demographics of the province, this is not a good strategy.

Your party right now is a rural party. If you don't reach out to those GTA voters, you'll remain in the same position as you are now. The urban and suburban ridings now have the political power. The rural ridings do not. Its a harsh new political reality.

Mike Harris did it. Don't think its not possible. Tory won areas like Mississauga and Brampton.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I don't have kids, but saw the logic in the faith based schooling idea. I thought it was good policy but also thought it was politically stupid.

Exactly. On the surface, I could see that the present policy of only funding Catholic schools is fundamentally wrong, as the U.N. has pointed out. It discriminates against other religions.

However, you are exactly correct that the Liberals played to a visceral response in the voters. The older parts of the brain take priority over the cerebral cortex in moments of fear and anger. It is difficult to reroute those thoughts once cemented.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Your party right now is a rural party. If you don't reach out to those GTA voters, you'll remain in the same position as you are now

My suggestion is to reach out to voters in issues that are inclusive to both sides.

Brian said...

Hey Joanne - I disagree with your decision to "stop slagging Tory" and "attempt to come together"

This Voter Says No To John Tory

I hope it doesn't come across like I was picking on you. I just started writing the post and it became a bit of an open letter to you. I'm sure many PCs feel as you do right now - I'm not one.