John Tory takes the booby prize for 2008, edging out Premier Dalton McGuinty whose nose grew several inches during the 2003 election. Tory famously took his Progressive Conservative Party from projected victory to devastating defeat in 2007—loosing his own seat in the bargain—by inexplicably pressing an unpopular campaign promise to publicly fund faith-based schools in Ontario and having the hubris to leave his “safe” seat to run against a popular Grit cabinet minister, Kathleen Wynne.
Since his disastrous, muddle-headed 2007 campaign, Tory has insisted on hanging on as the PC Party leader despite only lukewarm support at the last leader’s review—about 67 per cent.
More recently, Tory has demonstrated his tendency to dither by his admission that he won’t be able to meet his self-imposed deadline of Dec. 31 for explaining how he planned to get a seat in the legislature. Almost 15 months after losing his seat, and he still can’t make up his mind. Incredible. Apparently, we won’t know any more until sometime in January.
Tory won the leadership in Sep. 2004, entered the legislature via a by-election in Mar. 2005 and lost his seat in the Oct. 2007 general election. He has not been a member of the House since.
In his 51 months or so as party leader, Tory has had a seat for about 30 months (less than 60 per cent of his term as leader).
It is true that many Canadian party leaders—René Lévesque and Preston Manning among them—took years to join their colleagues in an elected assembly. Manning at the time was, of course, the leader of a new federal party with a single member in the House. Also, I would submit to Mr. Tory: Sir, you are no Preston Manning.
In simple terms, John Tory is a political looser, and a stubborn one at that, who is desperately hanging on to redeem himself for his inept campaign in 2007. Good luck with that.
Tory headed up the federal PC campaign in 1993, in which Kim Campbell’s Progressive Conservatives suffered the most lopsided defeat for a governing party at the federal level, losing half their vote from 1988 and all but two of their 151 seats.
Tory supported Dianne Cunningham’s 1990 bid to lead the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party—she lost to Mike Harris.
Tory then ran in the 2003 election for Mayor of Toronto and finished in second place, behind David Miller.
In 2007, Tory’s PC party lost the general election and he lost his own seat to the Grits—the PCs won only 26 of 107 seats and garnered less than 32 per cent of the popular vote. Most observers placed the blame for this massive failure squarely on leader John Tory.
After the 2008 leadership review vote—Tory received only 66.9 per cent support—he dithered for three hours before he announced to the delegates that he would be staying on as leader of the Party. What sort of leader goes into a leadership review without a crystal clear target of the amount of support he would need to stay on as leader? An inept one like John Tory does.