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If Tim Hudak goes, who do you pick as Ontario PC leader?

One of my old university political classmates (and still a friend) Michael Taube, who once worked on the staff of Stephen Harper, has a guest op-ed column in the Star this AM, saying Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Hudak needs to resign, as he hasn’t connected with the people of Ontario, as evidenced by the byelections.

Who do you replace him with? Michael isn’t exactly sure.. he never met a Red Tory he liked – as a leader anyhow (what he defines as “red” is a larger swath of Tories then my definition; I would never place Ernie Eves in the “Red Tory” category, and even John Tory I’d classify more as mainstream Conservative then in the Bill Davis mode).

No, Mike wants someone who is basically like Tim Hudak, but with better social or media skills; trouble is, there is apparently no one in the current party he likes, so he throws out some random Ontario Conservative Cabinet Ministers in Harper’s government, as well as vague references to unnamed business leaders or journalists – presumably from the Sunmedia chain (as my old blogging colleague Canadian Cynic said on Twitter, “If *you* think you can lead the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, call Michael Taube at 1-800-For the Love of God, Save Us!!”)

I’ve no desire to see the “Progressive” Conservatives succeed, but if they don’t want a Red Tory (what is left of that group is small; which is why I keep saying they should ditch the “Progressive” part of their political party’s name), they would be better off seeking a more moderate leader, because while someone of Hudak’s political orientation may appeal to the right-wing of the PC party, I’d argue Ontarions overall are a moderate bunch; they’ve experimented once with Mike Harris, and with the NDP of Bob Rae, but generally, most are part of the “mushy middle”.

If the PC’s want more electoral success, they need to have a leader that shows he/she has some compassion and not with 100% Grinch-like policies all the time. In my opinion, Hudak is failing because Ontario voters are reminded by him what Mike Harris was like (in which he was a cabinet minister) and they’re not eager to go to that extreme at the moment. This is why Andrea Horwath’s moving-to-the-center NDP is the more dangerous of the opposition parties right now.

At the moment though, I’m not sure the person in the PC party is there to present that face to Ontario voters, nor if there was whether the Mike Harris-wing of the PC party, which does dominate it right now at the grassroots and MP level, would be smart enough to accept that (which doesn’t bother me one bit).

Anyhow, as I keep saying, for a couple of reasons, I’m all for keeping Tim as leader.

UPDATE @ 12:58 pm: Lorne over at Politics and its Discontents is more or less the same opinion as me: Ontarions aren’t that right-wing.


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