Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday March 24, 2018
An Election with no Centre
As Doug Ford was declared the new leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, critics and political opponents wasted no time portraying the new party chief as a radical, hard-right conservative who poses a threat to civil liberties and women’s rights.
A statement by the Ontario Liberal Party declared that Ford’s win signalled the Tories had “gone back in time to pick the most conservative leader they could find” and by selecting Ford had in part chosen “religious extremism over the rights of women.”
De Clercy noted that during the leadership campaign, there was little ideological distance among the candidates.
Kathy Brock, a political scientist at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., said he has to bring together factions of the party and appeal to a broad base of voters.
“Doug Ford is a very politically astute person,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that he’s not going to say some things that are polarizing, but he also understands the need to build with different communities.”
Ford himself recently told CBC News that the party is “always going to be progressive” and “have a big social heart for a lot of social issues.”
Conservative strategist Jason Lietaer says Ford ran a relatively moderate, measured and practical leadership campaign.
“It certainly wasn’t an ideological campaign other than a strong commitment to fiscal conservatism and low taxes.”
He said the Liberals are just engaging in fear-mongering, and that when voters start paying attention, they will ask themselves if Ford really looks like the “radical right-wing lunatic” his political opponents are making him out to be. (Source: CBC News)