Originally published on March 17th, 2012, my interview with Tim Hudak is worth republishing again to remind Ontario PCs and Ontarians fed up with the Ontario Liberals and NDP, that he does indeed have the leadership and conservative credentials to do the job of turning Ontario around.
Both the original interview and original conclusions will be in italics:
I interviewed Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak today at a Tim Hortons in St. Catharines. He is a very likeable guy and far more charismatic in person than he seems on TV. I mean, the second he and one of his staff walked into the Timmies ( I was already there waiting), he had customers jumping up and shaking his hand.
This was not a photo-op. Only I knew he would be meeting with me there. So, it was nice to see the spontaneous and positive reaction to his presence. And, given he was visiting Liberal Jim Bradley’s riding, that was a very encouraging sign of things to come.
(1) My first question to Hudak was:
How can right leaning Ontarians know if you and your party are CINOs (conservatives in name only) or capital “C” Conservatives?
He explained that he is and always has been a proud conservative, reminding me that he was first elected in 1995 and comes out of “the proud Mike Harris PC tradition of keeping election promises and doing exactly what you said you would do.”
He also reminded me that the “PC tradition includes cutting taxes in order to put more money in taxpayers pockets, putting an end to Liberal largess in the form of corporate welfare, as well as implementing business and investment friendly policies that not only grows the private sector but creates jobs in the process.”
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Hudak told me — and I am paraphrasing — that the PC Party has a history of having the fortitude to stick to a plan to reduce the size of government (“by freezing the public sector for a savings of $2 billion a year”), balance budgets and pay down deficits — no easy feat when you just have to know how the teachers’ and other public sector unions are going to respond to any kind of suggested austerity initiatives.
(2) Of course, there will be many who say that was then and this is now — and that would be correct. So, I asked him what he would do now given the mess the McGuinty Liberals have created.
He said a PC Government now would start with “cleaning up the fiscal mess, ending [the Ontario Power Authority’s] Feed-In-Tariff Program” and “using the power of the private sector” to accomplish the PCs “job’s plan.” A PC government now would also put a moratorium on all green energy initiatives “until the communities affected determined whether or not projects should proceed.” Meaning a Hudak led PC Government would bring back democracy “through local decision-making” — something that is dearly lacking since the Green Energy Act of 2009.
(3) Then, part way through our interview, Hudak wondered aloud whether or not anyone would want to invest in Greece today. The answer was obvious. No, because the risks would be too great. Unspoken then, was the reality that if Ontario’s economy and fiscal mismanagement is allowed to continue, no party will be able to create the kind of climate that is needed for entrepreneurs to want to invest in Ontario.
So, it is obvious that Ontario is currently at a crossroads. Meaning, that if at any time the current Liberal government is brought down by the PCs and the NDP, Ontario conservatives, whether of the progressive conservative variety or not, have to make sure that Hudak and his party wins a solid majority government. But, to do that, the very same conservative voters are going have to stop constantly questioning Hudak’s leadership and conservative credentials and being ticked off over single issues. No politician is perfect. Sometimes they have to change their mind about a policy when new information becomes available (as was the case regarding Ontario’s HRCs). And, no government will do everything a voter wants or expects 24/7.
However, the crux of the matter is that the Ontario PCs, led by Tim Hudak, is the only political party with the history of being able to turn Ontario around — something that needs to happen for the sake of Ontario’s future.