There are those who—like Liberal war room veteran Warren Kinsella—believe provincial Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty will benefit from Rob Ford’s victory in Toronto. Their reasoning seems to go something like: Ford will screw up and that will reflect negatively on all conservatives.
I see this more as wishful thinking than political analysis. The Ford victory was less a left vs right issue than it was a tax-spend vs prudent fiscal management one. I see two strong trends developing. Firstly, there are small “c” conservatives breaking ranks with both progressive parties and with the Conservative/PC parties to vote out of office those who have favoured big government and big budgets with tax increases to pay for both. Secondly, there seems to be emerging an anti-career politician trend, and none of the parties save the Bloc Québécois are immune from that.
The Bloc is a special case. It gets its mandate from Quebec voters who either believe Quebec should separate or should squeeze every penny it can from the rest of Canada and see the Bloc as the best way to achieve either or both of those ends.
But the Bloc may have troubles of its own with the emerging Quebec Freedom Network, a right-of-centre political party in Quebec. The party is unnamed and does not yet have a platform, but has made it clear it plans to focus on economic issues instead of separation, and that it is time to get away from “interventionist” government.
In 2007, the Action Démocratique du Québec, a provincial conservative party, won 41 seats and Official Opposition status, demonstrating a new conservative movement could resonate with Quebec voters. A strong conservative party in Quebec will be bad news for the incumbent Jean Charest Liberals, the federal Liberals, the Parti Québécois and the Bloc Québécois.
But I digress.
The flip side regarding Ford’s victory helping McGuinty is, of course, if Toronto doesn’t self-destruct in the next ten months, voters could decide the Provincial Legislature needs some of the same strong medicine. Should that be the case, let’s hope Tim Hudak can show that he’s the man who can administer it.