Before Doug Holyday was officially parachuted in as the Etobicoke-Lakeshore Conservative candidate, we had Steve Ryan, affectionately known as Poor Steve Ryan. The guy found out by Twitter he was no longer the Etobicoke-Lakeshore candidate.
Then, the moment everyone was waiting for - Doug Holyday was appointed the candidate for Etobicoke--Lakeshore by party central and he wasted no time getting labelled a hypocrite.
Yesterday, the Conservative Party of Ontario released copies of emails it obtained that showed that Ontario Liberal staffers wanted to pressure the Speaker of the legislature into reversing his decision requiring the release of documents pertaining to the "gas plant scandal" - to suggest using partisan leverage against a non-partisan Speaker was not a good thing.
However, the Speaker didn't reverse his decision and Premier Dalton McGuinty subsequently resigned.
The Tories are hoping that most voters in the Ontario by-elections - given the glee and excitement with which they released this information - have not made up their minds yet and will cast their votes accordingly. That is, voters would send a strong message to the governing Liberals that Ontarians are not impressed.
Let me set the stage for you on what stakes are involved for the Opposition Tories.
Despite opinions to the contrary, these by-elections are a leadership review for Hudak. If after the lessons learned from the last election are not heeded and once again Tim Hudak snaps defeat from the jaws of victory, the Conservative leader will need to voluntarily step down or see his party revolt all around him. Tim Hudak knows this - he's been quiet and in the shadows during the by-election campaign - giving the limelight to Lisa MacLeod.
So now, we have the emails. The party releases them, the base erupts, and the media begins to tell the Conservative narrative. The situation is looking grim for Ontario Liberals.
The problem now for Hudak is that he must win all the by-elections. Anything less than absolute victory will be seen as something of a loss to the Tory faithful. I mean, who could vote Liberal after these emails are out? If they do, then it must be Hudak's fault.
Before, if he had walked away with one or two seats, he could claim to be moderately successful and hold back the wolves till at least the next election.
The Tories might win London-West, maybe Etobicoke-Lakeshore, and possibly, but unlikely, win Ottawa-South. They have no shot in Windsor-Tecumseh or Scarborough-Guildwood. At best, it'll be 2 out of 5.
Before the emails, that's a stunning victory for an unpopular leader.
People who've made up their minds not to vote Liberal because of the gas plants are angrier now, but they still can't vote more than once. Further, people not in a by-election riding, can't vote at all. I'm not so sure this narrative will carry longer than this by-election campaign.
Regardless of the outcome, Kathleen Wynne will control the agenda on August 2nd. She's likely already working on her morning after speech about "hearing loud and clear the voice of Ontario".
Tim Hudak's speech options include why they didn't win as many seats as they should have and why he should stay on as leader.
Joy Smith, the Conservative Minister for Censorship, has an op-ed up in the Huffington Post continuing her call to filter internet content at the internet service provider level. I won't link to it because I can't help but think I'm giving her more than the 15 minutes of fame she has already used up. You know how to Google.
She wants people to have a conversation with her about the role the government can play in censoring legal web content. Her argument comes down to, "won't someone please think of the children".
She lauds Prime Minister David Cameron's effort in this regard - despite its inherent flaws and questionable links. Porn is an easy target because everyone hates it; you kind of come off as some sort of pervert if you try and argue that there shouldn't be porn filters.
Ironically, the Member of Parliament for Kildonan -- St Paul does not allow comments on her piece. That's weird, since she's certain her proposal is not about censorship. She certainly does not want to hear opposition.
It seems like you'll have to contact her the old fashioned way if you want to "join the conversation".
Toronto city councillor Doug Holyday is mulling the opportunity to run for the Ontario Tories in Etobicoke-Lakeshore. I wonder if anybody has told the nominated candidate, Steve Ryan, that. Here he is, with aspiring leader Lisa MacLeod. "Steve Who" is his official nickname in PC circles right now.
London West PC candidate Ali Chahbar latest campaign shot shows him sporting ... Red? And, a thunder stick for Liberal candidate Doug Ferguson? Why does he get this right, but provincial politics so wrong?
Kitchener Centre candidate Wayne Wettlaufer called women less informed about politics. Less informed then men, Mr. Wettlaufer?