At a press conference this morning that everyone saw coming, Christine Elliott, Ontario MPP for Whitby-Oshawa and Former Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s widow, announced her intention to replace Tim Hudak as Ontario Progressive Conservative leader.
The Liberals and NDP long ago realized that having a female party leader is an easy way to earn more votes, and now the Progressive-Conservatives have finally caught on. She says that she is ready to lead, so someone should probably tell her that the Liberals have a majority for another four years, minimum.
Typical of announcement press conferences, she answered every question by saying some variant of ‘we need to listen to the voters more but don’t blame anyone in the party too much,’ or ‘I will work really hard’. She’ll have to work hard indeed, since the PCs will spend the next four years utterly powerless at the hands of Wynne’s government, maybe squeezing in the occasional filibuster, but being largely unimportant in legislative matters.
It’s not the worst job however, that will be the position of whoever succeeds Andrea Horwath when she’s inevitably forced out after blundering in the last election. When the entire electorate has managed to mistake ‘cuts through attrition’ for ‘forced layoffs tomorrow,’ with regards to Hudak, and Wynne’s legacy is tainted as it is, for Horwath to fail to clean up (and to alienate the NDP base in the process) is shameful, and kind of sad. So the PC leader doesn’t have it so bad after all!
Horwath insists that she’s not going anywhere, but four years is a long time.
That all being said, Christine Elliott faces an uphill battle. She faces steep competition from…well…Doug Ford? Maybe Tony Clement, Lisa MacLeod, John Baird, or Lisa Raitt, though these are just names that people recognize as ‘vaguely Conservative’ and kind of Ontarian.
Based on her resume, Elliott seems like someone Ontario can genuinely get behind. She founded a law firm in the 80s where she practiced for a number of years, and then did a bunch of pro-bono and charitable work, resulting in her winning every award known to man, from Whitby’s Peter Perry Award to becoming the Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow. She’s also been the director of dozens of organizations like the Abilities Centre, the Grandview Children’s Centre, Legacy Private Trust, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and has a group home named after her at Durham Mental Health Services. What a terrible person, right?
Given her status as Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Critic for Health and Long-Term Care, she certainly seems competent enough for the role. Now, if elected as PC leader, she’ll have four years to prove that to the voters.