Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hudak: bringing less P and more C to the Ontario PCs

Updated (Sunday 5:00 p.m.) below.

Updated (8:00 p.m.) below.

Things should get interesting in Ontario provincial - and federal - politics, now that Mr. Hudak has pulled off that Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership win this afternoon. Congratulations to him.

A reminder then of what may be in store politically for Mr. Hudak and his federal counterparts due to that big, controversial policy proposal that Hudak ran on, the elimination of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal:
...five Conservative cabinet ministers and 15 other Conservative MPs have endorsed candidates for the Ontario Progressive Leadership campaign who have called for the abolishment of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

So far, Transport Minister John Baird, Industry Minister Tony Clement, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan, along with MPs Dean Allison, Gord Brown, Patrick Brown, Paul Calandra, Barry Devolin, Rick Dykstra, Royal Galipeau, Daryl Kramp, Pierre Poilievre, Joe Preston, Gary Schellenberger, David Sweet and David Tilson, have endorsed candidate Tim Hudak.
So the question will become, as is being raised by federal Liberals like Bob Rae, what is the federal Conservative position with respect to the federal human rights commission if federal ministers so enthusiastically supported Mr. Hudak? Mr. Hudak's campaign went so far as to characterize the Ontario system which hears complaints of discrimination as one "built on hurt feelings." This could have implications federally. Could make a difference in suburban Toronto ridings where the Conservatives have been creeping up on the Liberals. Kind of cannibalizes Jason Kenney's "values" argument, that Conservative values are new Canadians' values.

Now that Human Rights Tribunal abolishing Hudak has won, this will be an interesting undercurrent to watch.

(h/t Big City Lib)

Update (8:00 p.m.): Andrew Steele earlier:
In the days leading up to voting, still more problems marred the contest. The most serious is a police investigation aimed at intimidation tactics used against new Canadians. A false report was sent to voters with "unambiguously ethnic" names, claiming the RCMP was looking for voter fraud in the race and spelling out the penalties. As the new leader, the pressure will be on to Hudak to explain why his party is taking on an appearance of hostility to new Canadians.
Update (Sunday 5:00 p.m.): Hudak, despite his very loud position on the human rights tribunal, will deploy the Jason Kenney strategy:
Like his federal cousins, Tim Hudak says he plans to reach out to immigrants to grow the Ontario Progressive Conservative party ahead of the next election.

The newly minted leader says the party's ranks must expand from the current 43,000 members if the Tories are to defeat the ruling Liberals in the 2011 provincial election.
That should be a neat trick.