With the resignation of Patrick Brown as leader of the Progressive Conservative party of Ontario, the province’s political balance has been thrown into disarray.
Individuals province-wide have started to gossip about who will become the new party leader, as well as their odds going into an election which is only 5 months away.
According to the PC Party’s own guidelines, an interim leader will be chosen by the caucus, however, an official vote must also be taken to permanently select a final leader within the next 18 months. That interim leader can run for leadership, and there are no rules on the length of the leadership race, so long as it is logistically possible to follow through with.
This means the party could pick an interim leader, run the general election, and then run an election for party leadership with the interim leader running as well. In the alternative, the party could attempt to select an interim leader and run an extremely fast 1-2 month leadership race.
The timing of this precarious scenario is extremely constrained. The Progressive Conservatives in Ontario are projected to form a majority government, and that popular support makes the selected leader far more important.
Anyone who is not a media darling will be attacked relentlessly, and those who closely match the Brown legacy will be ravaged.
In reality, the PC’s have two choices.
Choose a candidate so spectacular that they can pull the party away from this PR-disaster, or, pick a leader who is so well supported by the massive 130,000 PC membership that they can ensure a small loss of support and a hopeful minority victory.
The party may have a candidate who already exceeds those requirements.
A private party Insider commented on this situation that “for the Party, Caroline is the only exit strategy out of this mess”
That insider is referring to Caroline Mulroney, a Harvard graduate who studied law at NYU before working in finance for 20 years, while simultaneously starting a charity on the side—all the while helping to raise four children. She is also the daughter of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and the candidate for the Progressive Conservatives in York-Simcoe.
Her resume, combined with her family’s roots could be the answer. The media would quickly abandon most attacks and the PC brand would remain with one of the few Conservatives in the province whose name is actually known by voters. Caroline is free from political scandals, maintains a powerful and known name, and has the career experience to show she can both handle the provinces finances and political institutions.
Now while these aspects may be good and at first may charm you, there also does remain a large problem. Caroline Mulrooney has not served as an MP yet, and the truth is the party only has a few months until the election.
The Liberals could if they wanted to drop the writ know, and almost destroy the party.
That means anyone picked needs to have a keen understanding of not only the Conservative party but their entire plan, and how they can execute it.
This is why a second source has put forward Victor Fedeli as the more likely and safer option, given the circumstances the party has found itself in.
Fideli is a politician with a track sheet of experience, a philanthropist and also scandal-free. He ran for the leadership in 2014 but withdrew his candidacy in support of Christian Elliot.
He is not the exciting candidate, but that may not be what the party needs.
The people of Ontario are not searching for the Messiah, they are not even searching for the anti-Wynne. They are searching for anybody sane and safe but Wynne.
Who will be picked? What is your opinion on this? Share with us below!