The recent Ontario election blowout has left many Progressive Conservatives calling for new leadership, but Tim Hudak is staying put.
Tim Hudak will be hanging on tight to his position as PC leader and MPP of Niagara West-Glanbrook after the Tories were decimated by Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals in last week’s election, losing nine seats and giving the Liberals a majority government. The time has come for the PCs to piece together the remains of their party. Many are calling for new leadership, but it looks like Tim Hudak will be hanging on tight to his position as PC leader.
Hudak has made it clear he has no regrets about the election (really? not even a few?), and although some PC MPPs are calling for his immediate resignation and instituting an interim leader, he will remain until the next leadership election. He will also remain as MPP of Niagara West-Glanbrook. “I made my position clear: I’m looking forward to handing off to a new leader. I’m proud of the campaign we ran because we put a very clear alternative in front of voters each and every day,” he said.
That “clear alternative” was clearly rejected. Hudak’s hard-right platform and plan to cut 100,000 public sector jobs, based on his own personal branch of math, (Hudak-tistics?) didn’t go over too well with voters. Some PC MPPs have stated that Hudak’s job plan was not approved by the caucus before it was announced by Hudak, and left them unable to explain it to voters.
Despite Mr. Hudak’s eagerness to cut 100,000 jobs, his own doesn’t seem to be included. The Tories are now scrambling to put a new face and message to the party. “We need renewal in our party and it has to start today,” said Prince-Edward Hastings MPP, Todd Smith. Smith also said, “We need to definitely not poke the bear, so to speak. What we’ve seen is a very confrontational approach over the last little while and I think we need to have a softer approach, a more collaborative approach.” Mr.Smith recognizes the importance of not upsetting voters, or at the very least waiting until after the election is won.
So what’s next for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party? While it is early to say who will be running, names have been tossed around nonetheless. Toronto councillor, Doug Ford, the unfortunate brother of Rob Ford, and the good soul who did his neighbourhood a solid by complaining about the noise of autistic children, has declared he would give the PCs an “enema, from top to bottom.” Ontario has enough Ford lodged in it’s colon already. Another possibility is Vic Fedeli, former mayor of North Bay, Ontario and the current MPP from Nippissing. Fedeli hasn’t been quite as forward as Ford saying, “The party has a lot of rebuilding to do, and a lot of soul searching to do as well.” Sounds like the party is planning an Eat Pray Love soul-finding journey. Rick Dykstra, St. Catherine’s MP, also expressed a similar response when asked if he would be running, “It’s very early … but I’ve said I’m not ruling anything out at this point. Obviously, I’ve talked to some people and we’ll see what happens and (if the party moves in a direction I want to be a part of).”
Either way it looks like the party will be moving forward without Tim Hudak.