Monday, March 09, 2009

Goodbye John

Finally! John Tory has stepped down as leader of the Ontario PC party. His unglamorous end was typical of his leadership. Tory must have known it was the end when he lost a by-election in a safe conservative seat Thursday. Instead of resigning that night, he had to hold on one more day and wait until 2:00 PM Friday to resign. It's just like last year when he took hours after the leadership review vote to decide whether he was going to stay on.

Tory's comments demonstrated just how little he got it. When he said, "I hope the new leader is blessed with greater success on [the unity] file," it sounds like the problem is with the party. The problem was exclusively with him. He was a left wing red tory that tried to take the party to a place it wasn't meant to go. When he lost an important election badly, he should've resigned. When he barely garnered 2/3 support of Conservative delegates at last year's convention, he should've resigned. When he didn't find anyone to step aside to allow him to run before the end of the year, he should've resigned. The only reason there was a 'unity issue' in the party was because of the broad disappointment in his leadership.

His comments about the last election also showed an extreme lack of depth. In talking about his controversial plan to extend public funding to religious schools he said, "I've certainly learned that religion and politics is a volatile mix that is best avoided." Not necessarily John. What should be avoided is thrusting a controversial new policy on your party without first getting buy in from the members or the caucus. What should also be avoided is being clearly insincere about supporting the policy, and then flip-flopping on it during the last week of the election campaign. When you do that people who oppose the policy have to vote against you in case you bring it in, and people who support the policy have to vote against you because you've already betrayed them.

John Tory was out of his depth and its a good thing for the party that he's finally stepping aside.

No comments: