Yesterday, we shook our heads at the provincial Liberals’ seemingly wrong-headed campaign strategy of attempting to win the upcoming election by running against the Stephen Harper government in Ottawa. Today, we’re shaking our heads even harder at the second prong of Dalton McGuinty’s run-against-Conservatives-at-other-levels-of-government approach to staying in office: campaigning against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
With Ford poised to make controversial cuts to city services that threaten to undermine his popularity, the governing Grits plan to link the rookie Tory mayor with Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak.
“If you don’t like what Ford’s cutting at city hall, you’re going to hate what Hudak is going to cut province-wide,” one senior campaign insider said Monday.
While government officials insist they have a “positive relationship” with the mayor — and cite their help on subway funding and outlawing TTC strikes and lockouts — they expect him to campaign for Hudak in the Oct. 6 election.
It’s good to see that the people at the Liberal Party of Ontario have eyes and ears that are connected to functioning minds, because the assumption that Fords will be campaigning for Hudak seems solid to the point of obvious. The big problem, however, is the assumption that the average Toronto voter will be as repelled by Ford in October as the Liberals themselves are (an assumption that sounds awfully familiar). The federal Liberals kept assuming that, after one more election, Canadians would turn against Harper, and they got a Conservative majority as an answer to their prayers.
Now maybe this will work for the Liberals—the timing of Toronto’s budget process will put the firestorm right prior to the election—but we’re skeptical. We would humbly suggest that the Liberals, having told us a bunch about what they’ll run against, start offering some actual positive reasons to vote for them again.