Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ontario leadership: Pupatello and Sousa take on Wynne and Murray

The Ontario Liberal leadership race is already more interesting than the federal one. Former cabinet minister and Windsor, Ont. MPP, Sandra Pupatello, formally launched her bid for the Ontario Liberal leadership today.

Premier Dalton McGuinty set off the race on Oct. 15 when he announced his retirement and prorogued the legislature. He has pledged to remain in office until a new leader is chosen. The rule is that candidates have to resign cabinet positions, if any, before entering the race.

Ms. Pupatello joins Toronto MPPs Kathleen Wynne and Glen Murray, who resigned from cabinet and have officially declared their candidacies. Other candidates have until Nov. 23 to launch bids that, if successful, will win them the premiership of the province.

I’ve also read reports that Citizenship and Immigration Minister Charles Sousa is expected to announce that he’ll run, and apparently intends to do so when he makes an “important announcement” at Mississauga on Saturday.

The London Free Press reported yesterday that local MPP, Health Minister Deb Matthews, will not run. And earlier we heard that Energy Minister Chris Bentley, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, Education Minister Laurel Broten and Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid will sit this one out.

The Grits will choose McGuinty’s successor the weekend of Jan. 25, 2013, in Toronto. So, less than a month since the premier’s decision to resign, we have three cabinet ministers and one former minister about to face off in what should be a spirited game of pick-me!

Notwithstanding the fact that I’m a PC supporter and so have no chance to vote for the new premier, I do have skin in this game (or race or whatever). After all, the next premier will have the power to make policies and enact laws that could potentially have an impact on my wellbeing. Moreover, as a resident of Ontario, I don’t want to see some dolt leading the government.

At this point, I like the plain-speaking Sandra Pupatello for the job, and I’m guessing she’s entering the race as the favourite. Should she win, she would, of course, make history as Ontario’s first female premier. I am somewhat perplexed, however, that Ms. Pupatello decided not to run for re-election last year, saying it was time for a change. Yet here she is competing for more of the same. Let’s hope this is not more of the usual Liberal duplicity or mendacity we’ve come to expect from this edition of the Ontario Grits.

Since Ms. Pupatello did not run in the last general election, she can probably distance herself from the recent gas plant scandal. That all seems to stem from an election campaign decision. I don’t see how any of the other former cabinet members can escape fallout from that wrong-headed and expensive decision, however.

The next premier will be facing something of a mess and will be expected to head a government in disarray and currently holding the opposition at bay with the controversial use of prorogation. It’ll take political skill and sound judgement to avoid being the shortest serving premier in the province’s history.


  1. At this point I'd question her ability to win her own seat. Windsor has been hammered by this government.

    You must be having a rough decade so far if you don't want a dolt running the province.

  2. She does not have a seat so, she has stated she will run in a by election BEFORE bringing back the legislature so she might be ready by February 15, 2013. This is ridiculous--CALL AN ELECTION AND GET THIS NONSENSE OVER.

  3. Ethics and the bully-girl politics of Sandra Pupatello

    A more-often-than-not Liberal supporter, federal or provincial, I am dismayed that Ms. Pupatello believes she may be Premier-quality material in the upcoming Ontario Liberal leadership race. Not only does she support the craven decision of her predecessor to prorogue the legislative assembly but she has the unmitigated gall to announc she has no intention to recall this body until she has won a seat in a by-election, a delay which could very well delay MLA's return to Queen's Park until next fall.

    A further political IED that may likely affect her journey to and potentially during her tenure as the ostensibly unelected (by the people) Premier is the eventual public inquiry into the cancelled gas-fired generating plants (which, if the current minority government doesn't call for the Tories and or the NDP certainly will after winning the next election (which could likely be possible by the winter of 2013-2014. As Minister of Industry during ongoing negotiations for those plants it is likely that her hands may not be entirely unsullied in the more than 76,000 still unreleased documents. Better that she and the Liberals fall on their swords now than be annihilated at the polls.

    Most distressing, however, is the political personality, the ethics of this candidate for leadership. A hard-talking bitch of a pitbull Ontario likely needs at this time as a contrast to the optics-mired, wishy-washy mewling of McGuinty, and the liberals may need her even more to get into the pit with the drooling Tories of Hudak's ilk. But that is the side of Pupatello which is a little more than alarming. Do we not remember the reasons for her cabinet demotion and her casting out into the wilderness prior to retirement? Are Ontarians really willing to overlook Pupatello's rabid, über-partisan, relentless personal attacks on the NDP's [Rev.] Cheri DiNova during a Toronto riding by-election in 2006? As leader of a nasty smear campaign relying on almost gleeful misreprentation of the facts desperate political ends. Her defence of her actions, as quoted in the Windsor Star is truly heinous in its speciousness, even for a politician of her ilk: "If I was presented once again with apparently what is factual and has yet to be refuted and that is sermons that were posted on the world wide web ... I would have exactly the same opinion as I do today". No shame, all gain, eh Sandra?