Today Richard Ciano released his campaign platform for president of the Ontario PC party. I met Mr. Ciano when I had the good luck to sit beside him at a brunch that preceded the Burlington PC Riding Association’s annual general meeting last November.
He made a speech that morning from which I was able to tick-off each of my pet peeves over shortcomings and/or mistakes made in the PC’s last general election campaign. Shortly after that meeting, I wrote:
It is said often that at crucial times in history, the “right” person seems to emerge. Well, Mr. Ciano’s emergence as a candidate to lead our party at a crucial time may well be one of those.
It is encouraging to see that Mr. Ciano has now expanded on the points he made here at Burlington. (See here for the full text of his platform.)
Mr. Ciano reminds us that it’s been about 13 years since the last PC victory in Ontario. And I’ll add the we now have to wait another four years before we can again try to win the hearts and minds of this province’s voters. So, for the better part of two decades, we’ll have stood on the sidelines while the Grits make hash of Ontario’s economy—under the Liberals we have gone from Canada’s healthy economic engine of growth to a sick sister that relies on handouts from the federal government.
I agree with Mr. Ciano when he says, “We [party officials] have become an increasingly centrally controlled top-down regime, tone-deaf to our members and supporter base, and blind to our shortcomings.” And I especially applaud his conclusion summarized by these words, “To win elections we need strong riding associations, engaged members, and enthusiastic volunteers who buy into, and are proud of, the central campaign because it’s their campaign.”
No other candidate seems to quite get it. We did not lose because our leader was not good enough. We did not lose because our candidates were not good enough. We lost because party headquarters had forgotten how to win.
There are times when an especially charismatic leader can carry a party to victory on his/her coattails, but such leaders are seldom found. Most general elections are won, riding by riding, by popularly, locally selected candidates supported by engaged volunteers and a central party office that offers financing, training, advice and other support, without insisting everything be centrally managed and without substituting edicts for advice and support.
Mr. Ciano is saying all the right things, at least, as far as this writer is concerned.
Copyright © 2012 Russell G. Campbell. All Rights Reserved.