Saturday March 23, 2002

Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday March 23, 2002

Premier Harris is Glued to the Throne

Some time Saturday, one of five candidates will learn that they have won the leadership of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party, a prize with mixed benefits.

For almost five months, the candidates have been fighting over the leadership and the job of premier of Canada’s largest province.

But for the winner, victory will be only the start.

The next premier will have to reunite the Conservative Party after a divisive leadership race, rebuild its fundraising machinery, choose a deputy premier, select a cabinet, set out a legislative agenda, draw up a Throne Speech, help work out a budget in the face of a looming deficit and fight a couple of dozen political fires that the current leadership has been ignoring.

If former finance minister Ernie Eves lives up to his billing and captures the leadership, he will have an added problem.

Mr. Eves left politics and abandoned his Parry Sound-Muskoka constituency in February of 2001 to become a Bay Street banker and lawyer. He will have to win a seat in a by-election if he wants to lead his government in the legislature.

It likely won’t be as easy as it sounds. Liberal Party president Greg Sorbara yesterday warned that his party will ensure that Mr. Eves faces a stiff fight wherever he chooses to run. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)