Friday, September 18, 2009

End notes on the Hoskins by-election win in Ontario

Went to the get out the vote effort last night, scrutineered at a poll up in St. Paul's. Yes, one of those horrible, awful elections that is so decried far and wide by our federal politicians. And yet the voters did not seem put upon in the least. While the turnout was, not surprisingly, low the very strong get out the vote machine was in evidence in the abundance of volunteers. Hopefully it's a good foreshadowing for a federal campaign.

A few points jumping out from the media coverage...

Sue-Ann Levy, you lost. And rather badly considering the hype about how this was going to be a close contest and how outraged the voters were about the HST. Losing by 20 points is not a close race at all and you have to wonder about the impression created that it would indeed be a close race. Levy's comments last night in her concession speech continue the losing judgment seen in her campaign and don't reflect a sense of acceptance of that verdict:
Levy congratulated Hoskins in her concession speech, but laced her comments with a warning.

"Congratulations to Eric Hoskins. He's been given a very honourable position by the voters in St. Paul's," said Levy, a columnist for the Toronto Sun.

"I just talked to him about an hour ago and I told him I'll be watching him as a journalist ... I told him I would by holding his feet to the fire."
Conflict of interest much? As a journalist defeated by Hoskins, Levy should be going nowhere near the Hoskins beat. The voters spoke, Levy should respect that. Wonder if an editor out there might take issue with Levy's intent to carry on her campaign in her platform. If not, readers will undoubtedly know where the conflicted Levy is coming from.

Another point, you have to wonder about where the NDP strategy goes from here. Adopting the Conservative attack line didn't work and they're getting some criticism for it:
For the NDP, the returns in St. Paul’s may be even more disconcerting than for the Tories. Trial lawyer Julian Heller, the party’s standard-bearer, has lived in the riding for 25 years and is actively involved in education issues. It’s the third time he’s made a go of it in St. Paul’s. Name recognition wasn’t the problem. The party’s focus on HST clearly was.

By hitching themselves to the HST bandwagon and not differentiating themselves from the Tories, the NDP made a fatal flaw. Whatever happened to all that talk about the new green economy anyway?
Will be interesting to see whether they continue to pursue this line which is going to twin them with the Hudak crowd in Ontario.

The cynicism here is breathtaking:
Without some expectation of appointment to cabinet, which he surely has, it's hard to see what Hoskins – who spent years treating children in combat zones – thinks he can accomplish inside politics that he couldn't do better from without.

Whatever else it is, Queen's Park can be an elephant's graveyard of fancy resum├ęs.

A year or two with his glorious credentials bleaching on the backbench, while he does constituency grunt work or pulls house duty in late-afternoon debate, and the good doctor might find himself pining for a medical tent in sub-Saharan Africa.

Somewhere his presence actually makes a difference.

Another telling note:
The Liberals collected a whopping $424,741 in reportable donations during the byelection campaign, while the Tories raised just $13,775, according to Elections Ontario.
Last word to Andrew Steele, with a typically good take on the dynamic in Ontario.

Congrats to Dr. Hoskins and his campaign team, what a great new addition to Canadian political life.