Tory: the ultimate loser

Well, the results are in: John Tory, once a rising star in Ontario politics, has now officially become the most prolific and high-profile loser in recent memory. First, he lost the Toronto mayoral race to David Miller, which wasn’t really due to any glaring mistakes of his own, he just got beat by a better campaigner. Then he won the leadership of the Progressive Conservatives– probably his only recorded victory. It was back downhill from there. Ontarians watched as, despite favourable media coverage, he and his religious schools baby crashed and burned. He showed ridiculously poor judgement in hanging on to what was clearly a weak and unwanted policy. Ontarians likely would have tossed McGuinty out of Queen’s Park– they just needed a reason to like Tory more. He just gave the majority a reason to not trust him.

Not only did the PCs lose the election badly, Tory also failed to win his seat in Toronto. Kudos for having the guts to go up against the education minister, but much of politics is about realism, and many times the “no guts no glory” policy does not apply. This was one of them. Tory, for the duration of his leadership tenure, has been a nowhere man, seen as an outsider wherever he ran. This seems to be an image that he has been unable to shake even today.

He barely survived a confidence vote from his party, and waffled whether or not to quit as leader during the convention. Now, not even his party could trust him (they might have wished for another confidence vote). He then struggled through a damaging battle with his caucus over who should give up their seat so he could take it, if they should at all. No one wanted to let him take theirs. It was as if Tory was a nowhere man even within his own party.

In fact, I believe this was one of his main problems– he wasn’t Conservative enough. He made blatant pitches to the ethnic vote and middle class that were so obvious they seemed seedy. Voters felt unable to trust him, and his own caucus could not trust him to win a seat. It turns out they were right.

Tory has lost the riding of Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock in what seems to be the final nail in his political coffin. The PCs might have though they found someone in Tory who could ‘right the ship’ from the now problematic Harris past. It turns out they may have gone a little too far and now, in all probability, they are looking for a new leader.

Who could it be? That will be the subject of another post.

Tory always bothered me somehow– I don’t know exactly why– but it seems the majority was feeling the same way. Regardless, I wish him and his family all the best. As a successful businessman, he will surely land on his feet.

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