Wednesday, January 07, 2009

ON THE WHOLE TORY SITUATION IN ONTARIO

As you may know, in between my reporting activities I was once active in politics in Ontario on a grassroots basis. I had some pretty extensive roles on a couple of John Tory's campaigns (I say "extensive" because "major" isn't the right word at all). So I have been reading with interest what has been going on with his political career these days from a distance here in frozen-arctic Western Canada.

Talk about a sad state of affairs for a guy who really ought to be in higher office somewhere, serving the public. Instead, he keeps on having to fight off calls for his resignation as leader, and he keeps getting hounded by the press and by the blogging community.

I keep reading these articles in the press that Tory is meant to make some big announcement on the 9th of January. It may have something to do with whether he'll be getting a seat in the Ontario legislature, we hear.

Meanwhile, I keep on reading about all this sniping from the grassroots of the Ontario PC party, complaining about how long it has taken for Tory to get into the legislature after being defeated in the election, and how he missed his "self-imposed deadline" in December for getting a seat. Seems these other MLAs aren't all that keen about stepping down from their safe seats to allow Tory to win a byelection and take his seat!

Moreover, some malcontents are trying to bring a motion to the floor of the party's next convention where they are trying to put some goofy rule in place forcing its leaders to get a seat in the legislature. Honestly, stuff like this doesn't help the PC party. It just provides the media more juicy headlines and only helps the ruling Liberals.

All in all this whole Tory-without-a-seat business has made everyone in the Ontario PC party look bad. It makes Tory look like he isn't in command of his party. It makes all the MLAs look selfish. And it has made the whole party seem like a train wreck.

Honestly, how the heck is John Tory ever going to become premier of Ontario if this is what he must contend with, with all the sniping and the bad headlines and the rest of it?

No wonder I left politics and went back to journalism full time, given this state of affairs in the party.

I kind of think it would have been better for everyone involved if Tory had won that 2003 mayor's race in Toronto against David Miller and everyone else. If he had been elected, Tory's political career wouldn't be in the sad, hopeless state it's in now.

Moreover, Toronto wouldn't be in the state it is in now. With Miller in charge, that place has a mayor and a council intent on wasting its time going after Starbucks coffee drinkers by trying to legislate against disposable coffee cups.

Politics -- talk about a rough business.

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