Editorial: What a political mess

This editorial was originally planned to be about the lack of candidates or nominations here in SDSG for the upcoming provincial election. So far, incumbent MPP Jim McDonell will run again for the PC’s, and Sabile Trimm is running for the Libertarian party. No nominations or candidates have been announced for the Liberal or NDP parties. The Green Party said they are actively seeking a candidate to appoint for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry.

Then a series of political bombshells broke starting Wednesday evening with sexual misconduct allegations against Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown. This led to his resignation in the early hours of Thursday morning. Following that, the party’s president resigned over misconduct allegations Sunday evening. Later that evening, a female PC candidate in Carleton riding alleged bullying tactics by a sitting MPP who was attempting to stop her from seeking the party’s nomination.

These events have cast the PC party into a snap leadership race with just over four months until the June 7th general election.

Before Wednesday, the PC’s were leading in the opinion polls, the front-runners to win the election. After nearly 15 years in power, it looked like the provincial Liberals might be heading to opposition benches. One polling firm put the Liberals at winning only 12 of 122 seats. All that has changed.

The PC’s may still win in June, if they pick the right leader at the party’s March leadership convention. Should the party choose the wrong leader, Patrick Brown will add his name to a list of predecessors – Tim Hudak, John Tory and Ernie Eves – blamed for astounding party losses.

There is opportunity in all this political chaos. The Kathleen Wynne Liberals may benefit from the mess that is the PC party: so too may Andrea Horwath and the Ontario NDP. There may even be opportunity for the Green Party or the upstart Trillium Party.

In light of all the fallout from this political turmoil, it seems clear that the election battle dialogue will now be completely different. Job losses, the cost of electricity, the minimum wage increase, education, mental health, and taxes were the focus of election issues a week ago. These remain important issues. No one should lose sight of this.

It leaves us wondering where the June election will leave us here in SDSG – in a better, or worse, Ontario?