Now, if there's one group of people I understand, it's Toronto Liberals. And let me tell you; if you weren't born there and you think your local species of Liberal are a group of arrogant, spiteful human beings who think the world begins and ends with them, you may be right, but as bad as they are, they cannot hold a candle to Toronto Liberals.
The reason why there are four- count 'em, four- Toronto Liberals in this leadership race is not only because each of them, individually, thinks that Toronto should control the affairs of the rest of the province. No.
The reason why all four of them- Kennedy, Hoskins, Wynne, and Murray (who isn't even really a Toronto Liberal himself, but never mind)- are in this race, despite their ridings and bases of support being mere kilometres from one another, is because they each, individually, think their own little section of Toronto should control the affairs of the rest of the province. Rosedale has a claim. Forest Hill has a claim. The Bridle Path has a claim. Whatever the hell section of Parkdale-High Park it is that claims to be Liberal, given that the NDP rule it at all 3 levels, has a claim. One wonders why people like Mario Sergio and Mike Colle and Laura Albanese didn't throw their hats into the ring.
Let's say Yasir Naqvi had decided to run. He didn't because he's a complete lapdog, but let's say he or another Ottawa Liberal had decided to run. Because I know the other Ottawa Liberals are notorious for climbing over one another to demonstrate how eager they are to please, it's safe to assume no other Ottawa Liberal would have declared. Out in Windsor, Dwight Duncan (so we're being told, anyway), stepped aside so Pupatello could run in his old riding. It makes sense for there to be only one person from one city running to represent the local interests so they don't get divided up amongst each other.
But now we have all of Toronto's Liberal resources being divided up amongst four people. And it's because the concept of taking one for the team- for any reason- is unheard of amongst Toronto Liberals. Their egos will not allow it.
In 2011, just before they got plowed under, lots of Toronto Liberals assumed that their ridings would hold during the federal election. The reason they lost seats in 2008 was because they had some maladroit Frenchman as leader and now that Ignatieff, someone with halfway credible Toronto roots, was in charge, victory was assured. When it was clear that wasn't going to happen they assumed that they had such a tight hold on their own ridings that their local brand would carry them through. As it was, only the toughest survived. But even that hasn't convinced them, because they are sure- absolutely sure- that they will peel off enough ridings the next time around just because they are that awesome.
Toronto municipal elections are a joy to watch because every time, the Liberals carve themselves up into little factions and throw their weight behind centrist Tories or Liberals with a right of centre message. And it never works, because either the left or right is better organized and more united than they are. Smitherman was the closest I've seen to a full-on Liberal candidate for mayor. But he didn't win because there were too many downtowners stepping on each other's tremendous egos running his shop.
Why is a guy like Eric Hoskins in this race? Because his riding of St. Paul's is one of the wealthiest and most educated in the entire country. Those people deserve the kind of (local) leadership that only he can provide. They deserve the prestige associated with having the leader of the party be their elected representative. Anyone else just can't be trusted.
So it's Sandra Pupatello from Windsor running against a bunch of Toronto aristocrats and some guy from Mississauga who thinks he's a Toronto aristocrat. (The real Toronto Liberals don't think much of him, by the way, because the government had to throw him a lifeline in the last election. If you can't be re-elected to your riding effortlessly like they can, you must be some kind of complete loser.) And even more funny is the fact that Pupatello is running as a right of centre candidate, and is widely considered to be the front runner!
Well! The nerve of her. How dare this outsider from some little town in SW Ontario presume to tell proper Toronto Liberals how to do anything! So you can bet that they will pull out all the stops to keep her from winning, and, more likely than not, fail. Because Pupatello actually knows how to win a fight, whereas these upper-class twits think they deserve medals for showing up. And will they fall in line behind Pupatello if she does win? Don't bet on it.
So Premier-designate Pupatello inherits a caucus of restive Toronto Liberals and has to face down the deficit and an NDP who will be motivated to beat her, and a PC Party of Ontario who won't take kindly to being shoved aside on the jobs and the economy front.
I don't care how tough Pupatello is. Her predecessor tried to fight the deficit and was driven from office as a result. Her party nurtured this beast until it could not be fed, and it will eat her alive.
A continuation of the OLP program as it has been running for the past year is not good enough. Unless she is willing to go to all-out war with the unions and drive them into the ground, forget it.
And at that point in time, it will be up to the PCPO to prove that they can do what the Liberals cannot do.
They must, or else we'll be back to 1990, and we'll stay there until someone decides to clean this mess up.