Thursday, April 30, 2009

Frank Klees Gets My Vote

I decided last night at the leadership debate in Fergus that Frank Klees gets my vote for leader of the Ontario PC party. I also renewed my membership, so he can count on at least 1 vote.

The way I look at it, the next leader has to rebuild the party first, then convince the voters the party deserves their support, finally they will need to govern.

During the debate yesterday it was very clear to me that Frank was the most committed to resurrecting the democratic process that created the Common Sense Revolution. I remember participating in that process, by the time the policies were developed I felt a sense of ownership in a platform that I was passionate about supporting. The policies in that platform were strong because they were tested and vetted through the membership. We can't simply take a 15 year old policy document and try to use it again, but we can use the same process and create something new, relevant, and principled. Frank's commitment to the process convinces me he's the right man to rebuild the party.

The other candidates seemed focused on fighting the next campaign. If campaigning was the only skill that mattered, Tim Hudak, could have the advantage but if there's no substance to sell, his energy alone won't be enough.

Finally there's governing. Frank was the most statesmanlike leader by far, his experience demonstrates that he can govern. While the other candidates wanted to fight the move to change the Provincial Sales Tax to a Harmonized Sales Tax, dramatically increasing the number of services that are taxable, Frank said bluntly that by the time the Conservatives form government the tax will be a reality and the best thing they could do is decrease the rate. That's rational and pragmatic but still true to Conservative principles.

Finally the bonus is Frank's old enough that if he does win the leadership, but loses the election I doubt he'd try to hang on for another round like John Tory did.

The next provincial election is only 2 years away. That time will go fast but with Frank at the helm, I'm sure the party will be ready.


Joanne (True Blue) said...


I had eliminated Frank Klees as a possible candidate, but after reading your post I've decided to keep an open mind.

Anonymous said...

Important to select a candidate who can fight 2 or 3 elections. Klees on the bubble.

Anonymous said...

I was in attendance in Fergus as well and was disappointed Randy HIllier couldn't make it but liked his words as spoken by Ted. Of the three present I was most impressed by Frank Klees, least impressed by Tim Hudak (his smile is smarmy and he smiles constantly),I liked Christine Elliott very much but I think she's reaching for the brass ring too soon. I emailed 2 questions to Randy the following morning and heard back from him immediately and emailed 1 question to Frank Klees and am still waiting
for a reply from him.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your very interesting post and your support of Frank Klees! I am a resident of his Newmarket/Aurora riding and my family has known him for a long-time - long before he became an MPP, he was an instrumental voice in our neighbourhood association. He is also an accomplished businessman, and that experience is very important and much needed right now as we try stop the downward spiral of Ontario! I truly believe he is the leader that the Ontario PCs need right now - for all the reasons you listed. Thank you again for your well written post!

Peter said...

I am co-chair of the Klees Campaign and a caucus colleague of all four candidates. What a choice to have to make! I know them all well and enjoy their unique qualities and friendship. I was not at Fergus, Patrick, but you have captured the essence of why I supported Frank. He's the most rounded candidate. It's all there from his immigrant roots to his business success to his Harris Cabinet senior posts. Electing a leader is nothing compared to winning an election in our vast and diverse province. Frank can do it and it really is that simple. I hope our party sees that in broad perspective and votes the right way.

Peter Shurman, MPP

Patrick O'Neil said...

Where do I start? Joanne, I'm touched, seriously that's really kind. I think Frank will get a lot of traction if he continues to highlight his grassroots democracy credentials.

Laurie, It was good to see you there. I hope Frank gets back to you soon.

Neighbour guy, thanks that's good to get your perspective and thanks for your kind words as well.

Peter, hopefully we'll cross paths during the campaign.

Anon who thinks Franks to old, Why should a leader be good for more than one election campaign? If he loses there's a mandatory leadership review for good reason.