Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday, February 8, 2014
Internal memo shows concern over Hudak’s ‘right-to-work’ plan
Alarm over Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak’s controversial “right-to-work” policy is spreading among party activists, MPPs and increasingly skittish new candidates.
In an unusually candid memo obtained by The Toronto Star, 11 would-be MPPs express concern that Hudak’s U.S.-style anti-union measures could hurt them in a provincial election expected as early as spring.
Echoing fears raised in a Jan. 22 conference call of 300 party stalwarts and earlier by MPP John O’Toole at last September’s Tory convention, the candidates worry that radical labour reforms will be a tough sell to voters.
“Part of being smarter means we should recognize that campaign policies need to be flexible in order to allow for the type (of) precision needed to maximize regional support,” says the draft memo, written by Timiskaming-Cochrane Tory hopeful Peter Politis with input from the 10 other Northern Ontario nominees.
“I’m sure we agree that messaging of policies and being prepared for the counter-message is the most important aspect of our campaign going forward,” he writes.
Politis warns that “critical wedge issues” must be “messaged effectively in order to maximize the impact in our region while not hurting the impact of other PC seats in other regions.”
“The ‘right-to-work’ policy also needs to be messaged effectively to maximize its impact in the south without sacrificing 11 seats in the North that can very well be the difference between a majority or minority government.”
The candidates’ memo is the latest sign of an internal PC schism over a pledge to eliminate the Rand Formula, which requires all workers in a unionized workplace to pay dues, regardless of whether they join the union.
Harking back to the party’s heyday, the PC standard bearers urge Hudak to follow the centrist footsteps of former premier Bill Davis, who governed from 1971 until 1985 and remains popular to this day. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)