Ontarians are only in the first week of the month-long provincial election, but after a rocky first day on the campaign trail, did Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak already lose the election? Maybe.
In 2011, Hudak was considered to the premier-in-waiting, especially after a disastrous two terms of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and his Liberal Party. Engulfed in scandals, broken promises, soaring debt and budget deficits, many thought there would absolutely be no chance of Hudak losing the election to McGuinty.
Heck, even the polls had the Ontario PC leader ahead by double digits at one point. Unfortunately, Hudak could not hold onto the lead and gave McGuinty and the Grits another near majority government.
This year’s election might be a repeat of three years ago – this time losing to Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Hudak launched a campaign considered to be the “worst ever” because of what happened Tuesday. He held a campaign photo-op at MetalWorks, a recording studio that had received funding from the Ontario Music Fund (OMF), a program fund opposed by Hudak. A main component of his campaign this year is opposing corporate welfare and instead promoting corporate tax breaks.
When asked if he and his party would support the fund, Hudak completely ignored the question and talked about Premier Wynne’s 2014 budget and how his party voted against it. When asked a second time for his position on the OMF, Hudak responded that the most important thing in Ontario is to balance the budget. He was asked a third time and Hudak talked about his One Million Jobs Plan. Hudak was posed with the question for a fourth time and he again avoided it. Finally, after reporters attempted to gain an answer and clarification, Hudak had enough and left the press conference.
It’s leadership performance like this that will never allow the Ontario PCs to gain a majority or even a substantial minority government – the latest poll shows the PCs only maintain a five-point edge over the Liberals.
It’s pretty prevalent that many Ontario voters, particularly those located in urban centres, such as Toronto and Ottawa, are indifferent to the billion-dollar scandals originating from the Liberal Party that seem to occur each week (eHealth, ORNGE, power plants). New Democrat supporters are upset over NDP leader Andrea Horwath opposing the budget, which might make them vote for Wynne this year.
This is why it’s crucial that in the event the PCs hand over another minority government to the Grits that it needs to rid itself of Hudak once and for all. Indeed, Hudak would be a better alternative to the corrupt Liberal Party, but the apathetic electorate doesn’t seem to think so. That means it’s time for new blood that can take on the media, bring on some charisma and stick to principles – remember when Hudak opted to omit his right-to-work initiative because he didn’t think it would politically feasible?
If Wynne and the Liberals win again the fourth time, it will not only be the fault of the apathetic electorate, but also Hudak and the PCs.