Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday February 3, 2018
Caroline Mulroney has name, resumé and backers but leadership race will be decisive test
Last May, Caroline Mulroney was asked whether she would ever consider a career change from law and business to politics.
She was at the federal Conservative Party leadership convention, serving as a master of ceremonies, and she told the CBC’s Catherine Cullen she had always thought about jumping into politics.
“What I’ve learned from watching my father and so many of our friends participate in it, it’s all about timing and opportunity and getting all those things right,” said Mulroney, daughter of former prime minister Brian Mulroney.
Less than a year later, Mulroney is not only a candidate for the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party in the June 7 election, but a timely opportunity presented itself for her to run for the party’s leadership — and sources tell CBC News she’s in.
The opportunity comes after Patrick Brown’s resignation last week following a media report describing allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Brown denied the allegations during a hastily organized news conference, but a few hours later he stepped aside under pressure from his caucus and staff.
The shocking turn of events has had high-profile party members re-evaluating their career goals and making some quick decisions.
Peter Van Loan, a Conservative MP who knows Mulroney, said it was “definitely not her plan” to consider a party leader job given that she has never run for office.
“Her plan was to be the MPP and she was very focused on that,” said Van Loan, who represents the riding north of Toronto where Mulroney is running provincially, York-Simcoe.
Van Loan, speaking with CBC before Mulroney’s leadership candidacy had been confirmed, said while the timing may not be ideal for Mulroney, she was being “strongly encouraged” to run.
“Sometimes you get these things thrust upon you and I think for her, while I keep saying she should make the decision based on what’s best for her, I think that sense of duty hangs pretty heavy.”
Mulroney’s name was floated immediately after Brown resigned. She has impressed many in the party, some of whom feel the PCs would be wise to elect a female leader. (Source: CBC)