Perhaps Ontario's Progressive Conservatives have been in the wilderness for so long because they have a talent for screwing things up. Martin Regg Cohn thinks so. They elected a leader yesterday and then decided to have a lightning leadership race. Cohn writes:
A day after the party’s public self-immolation, with ex-leader Patrick Brown publicly tarred and feathered for alleged sexual transgressions, [Vic] Fedeli seemed — for a few hours Friday — like the phoenix rising from the ashes to transmogrify the Tories.
The unanimous choice of his fellow MPPs to lead them into the June 7 election, he would bring stability and predictability to a party recovering from the perils of a puerile leader. If, that is, the Tories would only let him take them all the way to power with a formal campaign barely three months away, and the pre-election homestretch already underway.
Cohn catalogues Fedeli's strengths:
Fedeli’s a grownup who held a job outside politics. He’s run a wildly successful business that made him a multi-millionaire. He’s overseen a city that made him a wildly popular, two-term, dollar-a-year mayor.
He’s a son of the North who’s travelled the world. He’s happily married, seriously funny and amusingly media-friendly.
Oh, and he’s had on-the-job training at Queen’s Park, as the top cabinet critic on the opposition front benches. First as energy critic, cutting his teeth on the gas plant boondoggles; and more recently baring his teeth over the province’s finances as budget critic.
True, he’s an old white guy in a suit, with grey hair to boot — and a fondness for cowboy boots and denim shirts. Colour him avuncular.
For better or for worse, the Me Too movement is restructuring business and politics. And Caroline Mulroney is waiting in the wings. Perhaps the Conservatives want a woman as their leader. That would mean that all three Ontario parties would be led by women.
But surely experience should count for something. After all, the most stomach churning example of the Peter Principle took the stage at Davos two days ago.
Circular Firing squads are self destructive.
Image: CTV Kitchner