Chrétien endorses former NDP MP now running for Wynne's Liberals in Sudbury

Jean Chretien
Canada’s former Prime Minister Jean Chretien laughs during an interview with Reuters in Ottawa November 15, 2011. Chretien today endorsed the New Democrat who beat one of his former ministers in Sudbury as the Ontario Liberal candidate in a provincial beyelection. (REUTERS/Blair Gable)

Former prime minister Jean Chrétien and his wife Aline today endorsed Glenn Thibeault, running for the Ontario Liberals in the provincial byelection in Sudbury. Thibeault deserted Thomas Mulcair’s NDP caucus to run for Wynne’s Liberals. Chrétien provided the endorsement even though it was Thibeault who knocked off former Chrétien cabinet minister Diane Marleau in the 2008 general election, becoming the first New Democrat to win in Sudbury since 1968.

Meanwhile, the United Steelworkers are running a radio ad in Sudbury, endorsing the NDP and taking direct aim at the “dirty politics” of Thibeault.


Here’s the release from the Ontario Liberals about the Chrétien endorsement: Continue reading Chrétien endorses former NDP MP now running for Wynne's Liberals in Sudbury

The Ontario PC Party leadership race: Where do MPPs and MPs stand?

Christine Elliott
Christine Elliott announces she is running for the Ontario PC party leader flanked by three of the seven caucus colleagues who have already declared their support for her. They are, from left, Norm Miller, Sylvia Jones, and Michael Harris. (Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency)

Usually, though not always, it’s helpful for a prospective party leader to have members of the legislative caucus on his or her side, the more usually the merrier.

Alison Redford won the Alberta PC leadership with little or no caucus support (and look what happened). Justin Trudeau won with dominant caucus support (and we’ll see what happens.)

In 2009, Christine Elliott tried to win the Ontario PC leadership. She had decent caucus support but finished third, well behind winner Tim Hudak who had some dominant caucus support. Elliott announced this week she is back for another kick at the can, and this time, she appears to be attempting  a pre-emptive strike by locking up as much caucus support as possible.

She is the only announced contestant at this point with seven of her caucus colleagues on board. That means that, in a caucus of 28 PC MPPs, 8 (including Elliott) are going to vote for her to be leader — better than one-quarter.

Sylvia Jones is the only one of those seven who, as an MPP, supported Elliott then and will do so again now. Norm Miller was an MPP in 2009 but back then he endorsed Hudak. Now he’s endorsing Elliott. The other five were not MPPs in 2009.

Who else among her current caucus colleagues supported Hudak against her in 2009? Bob Bailey; Toby Barrett; Garfield Dunlop; Lisa MacLeod;   Julia Munro;  Jim Wilson; John Yakabuski; Ernie Hardeman. MacLeod is considered a likely rival … [Watch as I interview MacLeod on Battleground on Sun News Network last night]

The rest of the current PC Party caucus at Queen’s Park was either not around as MPPs in 2009 or did not back anyone (or, in the case of Randy Hillier, ran for the leadership, finished 4th, and said he is not running this time.)

In the case of the Ontario PCs, it’s also interesting to see which members of the current federal Conservative caucus jumped into the race. Elliott is the widow of former finance minister Jim Flaherty and many in Stephen Harper’s caucus and cabinet got their start at Queen’s Park.

Moreover, many names from the current Conservative caucus have been bandied about as potential Ontario party leaders. Those include Lisa Raitt, John Baird, Tony Clement, Michael Chong, Rick Dykstra, and Patrick Brown.

Here are are current Conservative MPs  supported Elliott in 2009: Peter Braid, Colin Carrie, Chong, Ed Holder, Greg Rickford, Bruce Stanton, Peter Van Kesteren, Mike Wallace, Jeff Watson and Terence Young. Elliott’s husband, Flaherty, was the only member of the federal cabinet to support her bid for leader.

Other notables who supported Elliott in 2009: A Toronto city councillor named Rob Ford. And Richard Ciano, how is the current president of the Ontario PCs.


It’s worth reviewing who among current federal Conservatives supported Hudak in 2009:  They included cabinet heavyweights Baird, Jason Kenney, Peter Van Loan, Clement, and Rob Nicholson.

Among backbenchers, the following supported Hudak: Gord Brown, Patrick Brown, Paul Calandra, Barry Devolin, Dykstra, Royal Galipeau, Daryl Kramp, Pierre Poilievre, Joe Preston, Gary Schellenberger, and David Sweet.



Mission for Ontario's Tories: Figure out how to win Kingston …

As an Ontario Progressive Conservative, Steve Clark is about safe as safe can be in his Eastern Ontario riding of Leeds-Grenville, but how does he – and other Ontario Tories — make more ridings more Tory-friendly? For Clark, the first step is going to the riding next door, Kingston and the Islands, and asking voters there why they don’t like his party.

In Ontario and New Brunswick, the NDP go back to populist roots — with much moaning and whining

We all know about the soi-disant “high-profile” New Democrats who complained in the middle of the recently concluded Ontario election that NDP leader Andrea Horwath had abandoned core NDP principles and, as a result was risking core NDP votes in a crucial election. They “leaked” a letter on May 23 in which they scolded Horwath, saying  “you are abandoning those values and constituencies that the party has always championed.”  My Parliamentary Press Gallery colleague Tim Harper pithily described this as “a manifesto that reads like it was written at an Annex dinner party that went one bottle of red over the line.” In other words, this was the whining of your downtown Toronto NDP, a certain species of New Democrat that has, at times, been more trouble than it’s worth to a party that was born of Prairie populism and sober down-home common-sense 50 years ago. Continue reading In Ontario and New Brunswick, the NDP go back to populist roots — with much moaning and whining

The final campaign day in Ontario: Liberals go hard after Toronto New Democrats

PICKERING, Ont. – Premier Kathleen Wynne attends a rally at Pickering-Scarborough East office of Tracy MacCharles on Tuesday. (Michael Peake/Toronto Sun)

The final day of the campaign in the 41st Ontario general election gets going early for all three major party leaders. Continue reading The final campaign day in Ontario: Liberals go hard after Toronto New Democrats

Ahead of Ontario election, The final tale of the tape on job numbers

Statistics Canada was out this morning with the final jobs report before Ontarians head to the polls next Thursday.

Here, then, are some aggregate numbers on the Liberal record in office so far as jobs go. Choose which one you like to make your preferred political point: Continue reading Ahead of Ontario election, The final tale of the tape on job numbers

Ontario's police union and its largely Liberal donations

A few days ago, the Ontario Provincial Police Association released a couple of controversial ads in which it urged Ontarians to vote for anybody but Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak and, at the same time, tried to claim it was not endorsing either party.

Today, OPPA head Jim Christie was asked about these ads and the fact that the OPPA has donated thousands of dollars to the Ontario Liberal Party over the years, an apparently controversial move within the police union.. He said: “We’ve made it clear we have no issue with PC party just an issue with Hudak and where he plans to take future of membership. We donate to all political parties. I think over time we’ve actually donated more money to [Progressive] Conservatives.  it’s normal and part of our political activity.”

I’m not so sure about that last part. Going to Elections Ontario political contributions table and looking up the contributions to each of the three main parties for the last five years, one finds that not a penny of OPPA made it into supposedly union-friendly NDP coffers and that while the PCs got some OPPA cash a few years ago, they got nothing in 2012 and 2013 and none so far in 2013. In fact, since 2011, the only political party that has received OPPA cash is the Ontario Liberals. Here’s the tale of the tape derived from Elections Ontario:

2014 $- $- $-
2013 $7,400 $- $-
2012 $7,650 $- $-
2011 $13,600 $13,640 $-
2010 $5,200 $4,455 $-
Total $33,850 $18,095 $-

If the OPPA did, as Christie claim, give more the PCs or even give one penny to the NDP it must have been 2009 or earlier …


The whoppers in Tim Hudak's "Truth" ad

This is the latest ad from the Ontario Progressive Conservatives. They call it “Truth”. But in fact, it features their leader saying at least one thing that is demonstrably and unequivocally untrue and one other statement that is unlikely to be true. Let’s break it down by looking at two key claims Hudak makes early in this ad. (I’m assuming by now, you’ve watched the ad)

“The truth is that a million people in our province woke up this morning in our province without a job.”

Nope. Sorry. That’s not the truth. Continue reading The whoppers in Tim Hudak's "Truth" ad

New Ontario election ads: Hudak's math and Andrea's switchers

Two new ads out this afternoon for consideration by those eligible to cast a ballot in the June 12 Ontario election. One is from the Liberals and a week after economists first raised questions about the math in Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak’s “Million Jobs Plan” hits Hudak about his math. The other ad (below) is from the Ontario NDP. The NDP takes shots at both the Liberals and the PCs and encourages voters to “switch” to Andrea: Continue reading New Ontario election ads: Hudak's math and Andrea's switchers

The Liberal record on job creation by industrial sector

Today on the Ontario campaign trail, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak was indicting the Liberal governments of Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne for letting 300,000 manufacturing jobs disappear on their watch. Now, while I was critical of Hudak and the PCs earlier this week for vastly overstating the number of “out of work” Ontarians, Hudak is pretty much spot-on with this latest number. Since October, 2003, when McGuinty took the reigns for the first time, Ontario has, in fact, seen 314,500 manufacturing jobs disappear. That’s what Statistics Canada says.

I was curious which industrial sectors fared worst or better during the Liberal reign and so I crunched the numbers from Statscan for three time periods: Since the McGuinty liberals first won office in October 2003; since the last Ontario election in Oct 2011 (the McGuinty/Wynne years) and the last 12 months. The most recent month for which data is available is April 2014. Continue reading The Liberal record on job creation by industrial sector