Tom Walkom writes that Doug Ford just might become the leader of Ontario's Progressive Conservative Party. Ford is no progressive. But he is angry. And, in conservative circles these days, you can get a lot of mileage out of anger:
So far none of the candidates has said much that would substantively differentiate them. Elliott and Ford oppose the imposition of a carbon tax as called for in the party’s election platform. Mulroney is vague but has said that if she wins she might rethink the entire platform.
The real difference is tone. Ford rages. The other two do not.
Ford’s main policy pronouncement to date is that, “It’s time to clean up this mess.”
The party hierarchy doesn't want Ford in the driver's seat. But the hierarchy does not have a good track record when it comes to choosing leaders:
The party has the distressing habit of ignoring the nabobs and making unsafe choices.
In 1990, it defied the then Red Tory old guard and chose Mike Harris. Harris tanked in the subsequent general election but recovered to win two back-to-back majority governments.
In 2004, the party made the safe choice of picking John Tory as leader. He lost the next election.
In 2009, the party chose Tim Hudak, a Harris acolyte, over the more centrist Christine Elliott. Hudak lost two elections. But the party rank and file were undeterred. In 2015, they elected as leader another controversial outsider — Patrick Brown.
Once again, Elliott, campaigning as the safe centrist, lost.
Ultimately, of course, what matters is what the voters of Ontario think. They might just be on the side of the nabobs.
Image: The Toronto Star