After viewing yesterday's leadership debate, Martin Regg Cohn writes:
Ontario’s once-proud PC party may emerge from this renewal process having regressed — with nary an idea for the future economic, educational or technological challenges facing our province. Four candidates (three serious contenders, one single-issue contestant) were behind the microphones at TVO.
Quite apart from condemning one another, the candidates were at war with themselves — contradicting their own past positions and demolishing the party platform that, until last month, the party had put forward collectively as a carefully considered blueprint for governing Canada’s biggest province.
The platform was supposed to take them to victory in the election -- which is now three months away:
A proposed carbon tax? Repudiated by all with astonishing alacrity, even though it funds the party’s promised $4 billion in tax cuts and assorted election sweeteners;
A sex-education curriculum updated three years ago in our schools? Condemned by all with unseemly passion, based on the fictional claim that no parents were consulted and that parents must always have the last word — as if teenagers hang on their every word, because father (or mother) knows best. While joining in the chorus of condemnations, Mulroney alone mused that she wouldn’t undo the current curriculum (having lost her backbone on carbon, she recovered her voice on sex ed);
A higher minimum wage? Bad for business but worse for workers, Ford argued with a straight face and steady gaze. All candidates condemned the $14 minimum wage brought in last month and assailed the Liberal government’s law raising it to $15 next year. Oh, and dissociated themselves from the party’s platform promise to phase in the $15 target more gradually, by 25 cents a year until 2022 — still too fast, according to Ford and Elliott, who were having none of it (only Mulroney stuck by the platform’s slower 2022 target).
Cohn warns that chaos may be a winning formula. Donald Trump seems to thrive on it these days. Nevertheless, it's utterly disheartening to realize that Doug Ford is calling the tune:
The remarkable repentances of Elliott and Mulroney — who have long coasted on their images as progressives — must be a bitter pill for them both to swallow, and seems like a poison pill for many other Tories. Not just . . . carbon but consent issues . . . [have] taken the party back in time to revisit the sex-ed controversy that Brown tried to put behind them — until a sexual misconduct scandal undid him.
Tanya Granic Allan, the candidate of the religous right, only has one issue -- scraping the sex ed curriculum. These days, the Tories seem fixated on sex.
And marching backwards.