Christina Blizzard in today's T.O. Sun:
"LONDON, Ont. -- In a stunning late-night about-face, John Tory apparently outmanoeuvred his political opponents by announcing he was hanging in as leader.
It was one of the most stunning flip-flops in recent political history. Earlier yesterday, he had said he would consult with family and caucus about his future."
For what its worth, the Ontario Conservatives would do well to keep John Tory.
Essentially, the 2/3s of delegates who voted status quo want to move the party towards the center, where it can win a few votes in the cities and where, once in power, it won't sacrifice the economy on the alter of free market theory.
The last 1/3, the party Rebs, think they can win with a hard right freak that will somehow get Toronto to vote for him via displays of rural machismo.
What this bunch doesn't understand is that Mike Harris was a fluke. When he got in in 1995 he was running against a deficit ridden NDP government and a female midget (can't remember her name at the moment). The Libs were up by ten percent until people saw them all together on stage during the debates and decided that times were tough and if they really wanted "small and cuddly" they would just vote for Yoda.
So ponk! Harris becomes Premier and proceeds to trash the place--a public sector strike every twenty minutes! the air filled with smoke from burning dumps! poverty in the streets! dysentery out in Walkerton (in the streets)!
But Harris goes into retirement just when the whole province goes into the toilet and escapes the voters wrath, leaving Ernie Eves here to get tagged with the cleanup and, eventually, defeat at the polls.
But people still remember what Harris did, especially how, after all the cutting and slashing, Ontario's finances were in the same awful shape they were in the day he stepped into office. Hence the extreme negative reaction Flaherty gets when he dares to open his mouth re the Ontario Liberals' spending priorities. What does this guy know about balancing a budget? Nothing, if you judge by his performance as finance minister in the Harris/Eves regime.
In any case, a "strong horse" ideologue from the back woods will not win in Ontario for a long time. Best keep the moderate you've got.