Opinion Column

Paul Kelly: Think twice before you buy a used Ford

By Paul Kelly

Errol McGihon/Postmedia Network:
Ontario PC leadership candidates (L-R) Tanya Granic Allen, Caroline Mulroney, Christine Elliott, and Doug Ford pose for a photo following there debate in Ottawa  Feb. 28.

Errol McGihon/Postmedia Network: Ontario PC leadership candidates (L-R) Tanya Granic Allen, Caroline Mulroney, Christine Elliott, and Doug Ford pose for a photo following there debate in Ottawa Feb. 28.

When Patrick Brown announced his resignation and Doug Ford announced his leadership bid I did something rather unusual.

I bought a membership in the PC Party of Ontario. Now I don't have to remind everyone that I don't think highly of any political party.

Raised a PC, having belonged to the Liberals for a nomination meeting, my days with parties are over. I have not had a membership in the provincial party in 16 years.

Having run as an independent candidate, having voted independent the last three federal elections, I am pretty much a person that supports less party and more backbone.

But I want our province freed of Premier Wynne and her incompetence. I think the PCs are best positioned to do that. I like the NDP leader but still don't think she enjoys the bench strength to field an entire cabinet.

I am pretty sure many Ontarians – at least the older ones –still sting from the Rae government from 1990-95. Yes that was 23 years ago but older people actually vote and have longer memories.

If you go back to my original theory that most prime ministers and premiers have a shelf life of about nine years, you know that the Ontario Liberals are in for a tar kicking. The PCs are best positioned to do that.

And I want Wynne gone. In my travels I know many people feel the same. Between McGuinty and Wynne since 2003 we have been ruled over by the corruption of paying off narrow interests, green energy fiascos and computer hard drive erasing.

It's time for change.

The only barrier to a slam-dunk PC win had been Patrick Brown. Now everyone can seemingly admit that, onscreen and in person, he gave off a creepy, secret agenda vibe.

Apparently he ran the party like a mini-camp for his own disciples stuffing ballot boxes, managing his love life and fabricating memberships.

But when Doug Ford joined the race to replace Brown I had to join to stop him from giving Wynne a chance at reelection. Ford would not win in Toronto. He would win pockets of support in parts of the province. Heck I am even willing to acknowledge that he could win given the current dislike for Wynne.

But I would only be a matter of time before some past incident involving his conduct would come to light.

Plus as Ontarians have known since Bill Davis/Bob Rae/Dalton McGuinty: bland works. Ontarians are, by their very nature, very moderate people. Plans to fire 100,000 people or to import a version of Trump Lite would not work.

I've talked to voters around the province. Ford’s attacks on other candidates have not gone over well. There is a level of viciousness that extreme right wingers can tolerate but most moderate Ontarians will not.

Plus if I can't tolerate Ford as leader of a party I can't tolerate him as premier.

So I have voted for only two candidates. I took Ford out from Day 1 and never considered voting for the fourth candidate. Single issue candidates – even educational issues – do not interest me.

To me Caroline Mulroney and Christine Elliott are almost entirely interchangeable. Except in government experience of which Christine Elliott has more.

There is much to be said of private sector experience and having family with a background in government but until you have experienced the soul-sucking, spirit-draining life of getting anything done in government you haven't lived.

The public service would eat Doug Ford alive grinding his agenda to a crawl. It would be able to delay Mulroney at best. Mulroney has a lot of MPPs supporting her that know their way around Queen's Park.

Elliott seems best positioned to take control of her party and a government by June. The fact she worked “for” the Wynne government doesn't bother me anymore that Ms. Mulroney’s father was prime minister.

Either candidate is acceptable to me. If it's another person then my membership will be vacated and I will vote in any manner I see fit. Job One to me is to get a new government. PC, NDP, Rhinos – I don't care.

Then and only then will our province be in safer hands.

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