Now that we’ve seen Premier Kathleen Wynne’s $25 billion plan to bail herself out of the mess she and the previous Liberal government have landed us in on electricity, you wonder which shoe – or perhaps whose shoe – will drop next.
The Liberal Party is no doubt anxiously eyeing Wynne’s desperately low poll ratings. Trust me, they will do anything they think will keep them in power. If that includes ditching Wynne, they’ll do it – although they’d have to do so very quickly, in order to instal a new premier before the election in June 2018.
A fresh face would help them lose some of the baggage the Liberal Party is staggering under right now. Health Minister Eric Hoskins is one obvious name of someone who could step into the role. He ran in the last leadership and has done a lot of heavy-lifting in Health. Children’s Minister Michael Coteau is a newcomer who’s rapidly making a name for himself. And you have to wonder if Education Minister Mitzi Hunter harbours leadership ambitions. Attorney-General Yasir Naqvi would also be a strong contender.
That said, the Liberal Party has a strong track record when it comes to winning elections. Like Jaws II, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, they pull off a stunning election upset. They did it in 2014, when everyone thought Tim Hudak was a shoo-in after years of Liberal waste, mismanagement and scandal.
And in 2007, they turned John Tory’s platform that took the very reasonable position that the current system of funding religious education is wrong and discriminatory and turned it into an albatross around Tory’s neck.
Don’t count Wynne out yet. And those polls saying PC leader Patrick Brown will win a “supermajority,” are just that. Polls. And 18 months before an election, they’re meaningless.
Brown needs to up his game. His response to Wynne’s plan on Newstalk 1010 sounded like someone who isn’t taking media training. He must. And he should listen carefully, if he doesn’t want to be portrayed into the next election as someone who’s not ready for prime time.He can’t cruise to victory under the radar. Voters aren’t focused on the election right now. Once they do, they may take a look at him – and not like what they’re seeing.
And who will they turn to? Either the devil they know – Wynne – or the NDP. New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath routinely polls much higher than the other two leaders and she could end up the beneficiary of Brown’s gaffes.