There is a new player in the provincial election next June who could change the direction of Ontario's growth.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

August 8th, 2017



It is less than a year away. In June of 2018 we will elect a provincial government.

The provincial Liberals have been in office since 2003 and are described by many as tired and no longer have that edge one needs to govern a province the size of Ontario.

All that raw power has to be transformed into electricity homes and office buildings can use. Trasnformers are not cheap - so Burlington Hydro has to borrow some money to pay for the transformer that will get placed along tremaine Road.

Katherine Wynne decided to sell part of Hydro to raise the money for needed infrastructure projects. Many thought she had made a serious mistake.

Hydro rates bother a lot of people and the selling of a significant part of Hydro One is seen as close to criminal by many.

The attention being paid to the upgrading of our infrastructure – roads, rails – and the building of hospitals has been admirable. Will all that be enough?

Wynne put immense pressure on the federal government to improve the Canada Pension Plan by creating an Ontario pension plan – the federal government caved in and improved the federal plan – something every Canadian can be grateful for.

The raising of the minimum wage to $15 an hour suggests the Wynne government hasn’t completely lost touch with what the province needs. The pressure from the private sector is immense – Loblaws is lobbying her fiercely.

patrick-brown smiling

Patrick Brown is going to have a Joe Clarke experience.

Keeping the provincial economy sound and maintaining the NAFTA agreement with an American president who wants to tear it up before he gets committed to either a mental health institution or a prison is not a small matter. Something well beyond the capacity of Patrick Brown.

When deciding who you want to run the government, being angry and wanting to get rid of what you have, requires a look at what the options are. The pickings aren’t all that inviting.

Andrea Horwath hasn’t excited anyone other than the limited NDP base and the support for her there isn’t exactly overwhelming. And there doesn’t appear to be a number two within the NDP ranks.

Patrick Brown struggles to define just what it is he wants to do – and seems to have an edition of his platform that is tailored for whichever part of the province he is in.

In Burlington it has been difficult to get a sense of what the Conservative candidate, Jane McKenna, has to say or to even get a look at her.

The Gazette has reached out to the Conservative’s in Burlington – they haven’t been returning calls.

Brown is still learning his way as the Conservative party leader – he should be aware that he isn’t going to hold that job for all that long.

Mulroney Catherine

When she was a speaker at the federal Conservative leadership convention earlier in the year it was evident what the Mulroney game plan was – Caroline was headed for the leadership o the provincial Tories.

The game changer is Brian Mulroney’s daughter Caroline, who has been nominated to run as the Conservative candidate in York–Simcoe, north of Toronto. She appears to have a home in Forest Hill, a very tony part of Toronto and a home in a township within the York Simcoe riding.

The team guiding the Caroline Mulroney nomination campaign are keeping her away from national media while they woo the locals. The sitting member for York Simcoe, is the longest serving female member of the provincial legislature and has thrown her support behind Mulroney.

Caroline Mulroney did not decide to enter provincial politics to sit as a back bencher at Queen’s Park. That is not the way the Mulroney’s do business

She will win the York – Simcoe seat and while she has zilch legislative experience the pressure on Brown to put her in his shadow Cabinet is something he will not be able to resist. Should he win the provincial election, which is a big assumption, the pressure to put her in his Cabinet will be even stronger.

The Mulroney’s are going to do to Patrick Brown what they did to Joe Clarke.

It will not take too long for Caroline Mulroney to outshine Patrick Brown and begin the move to ousting the poor man when there is a leadership convention.

Jane McKenna, who has been particularly adroit at figuring out where the power is in a room, will find herself warming up to Ms Mulroney as quickly as she possibly can.

Caroline Mulroney - arms crossed

She has a strong profile: Caroline Mulroney is a lawyer, has experience in the financial sector and the required philanthropic foundation.

Ms Mulroney is in this for the long term. Should she find herself on the Opposition benches the goal will be the same – to gain the leadership of the Conservative party in Ontario.

So what the public wants to do is look very carefully as Caroline Mulroney – is this the woman that is going to restore the Progressive Conservatives to power in Ontario?

Patrick Brown might, and this is a small might, defeat Kathryn Wynne. She is a formidable campaigner and she does not like to lose. She also believes that Ontario has done well by the Liberal government she has led.

These are all small matters – Catherine Mulroney is going to lead the Ontario Progressive Conservative party and will at some point defeat the Liberals.

Former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney and daughter Caroline arrive at the church for the state funeral for the late Jim Flaherty in Toronto on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney and daughter Caroline arrive at the church for the state funeral for the late Jim Flaherty.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Wynne might prevail and get back in but 2018 will be her last election and there is no one on the Liberal front bench that can take the leadership and defeat Ms Mulroney.

The only thing in the woman’s way is any stupid mistake she could make. Highly unlikely – her Father will be up to his ears in her campaign and he will call in every favour he has and then some.

An opportunity to create a Mulroney dynasty is too much for Brian Mulroney to take a pass on.

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6 comments to There is a new player in the provincial election next June who could change the direction of Ontario’s growth.

  • Doug

    Problem with Conservative leaders is they tell the truth up front before the election. The Liberals have honed the lies to and art, they give lip service until after they get elected, then they seem to forget their platform. Of course when you have lied perpetually like Wynne has, who knows what the truth is anymore.

    Regarding NAFTA, the USA must be salivating getting to deal with Wynne, they just have to look at her past deals. Trudeau should ask her to stay home, Freelander is a big enough anchor we don’t need Wynne involved too.

    Close up Ont coal power plants and then buys USA coal plants, really smart move. Maybe these plants are in California so she can swap carbon credits with them.

    She gives unions million dollar of our money (haven’t met a Liberal who spends their own money) hand out just for votes, who cares about the little guys, if your not from Bay street or union bosses, who really cares.

    We can’t even accuse you of smelling to much printing ink, since this is a web based article. To bad you seem happy with your children and grandchildren paying your hydro subsidy, plus you nursing home.

    Good luck with that.

  • Shannon

    Great news. Caroline Mulroney will make a fantastic MPP. Whether or not she eventually becomes leader of the party doesn’t matter so much right now. As long as the PCs stay far away from the wacky social conservative stuff and don’t make the same terrible mistakes that Hudak’s campaign did (threatening to cut 100,000 public sector jobs–whose idea was THAT anyway?), the 2018 election should be theirs to win.

  • Hélène

    No one has any idea how effective Mulroney would be as an MPP. Some highly heralded “star” candidates do well, others are a flop.


    Wynne’s liberals have a great chance at winning if Wynne steps down. But her arrogance and pride may keep her at the helm and in which case, it will be close especially if the PCs can continuous remind the people of Ontario all the horrendous things the liberals have done (far out weighs the few positives policies they have enacted).

    Caroline Mulroney will become PC leader and Brown must already suspect that his job as leader sways in the wind. It is not her family name that will garnish her a political seat or her lack of experience (all politicians were neophytes at one time) that may hinder her from acquiring said seat. What she processes is intelligence, the ability to listen, to be articulate (Jane McKenna could learn much…..maybe) and is a charismatic individual. While Wynne rides the wave of sarcastic, bullying and demeaning political leader who thinks she has inspired oracle insight.

    I wonder how Wynne will express herself to Caroline Mulroney when she cannot use the paternalistic, misogynistic homophobic ‘Ace Card’ she always throws out to anyone (or any male) who questions only her liberal policies.

  • Stephen White

    Caroline Mulroney is a formidable presence but I suspect the Gazette does Patrick Brown a bit of a disservice by discounting him so quickly. He pulled off a huge upset in the Provincial PC Leadership race by resoundingly defeating Christine Elliott who many thought a “shoo in”. To his credit he has also brought in a lot of new people who, previously, were neither members nor supporters, and has made inroads with many ethnic communities.

    The provincial Tories do indeed need to solidify their policy platform but the danger is that 10 months away from a provincial election the Liberals will just hijack it anyway as they are seriously bereft of new ideas. I am not great fan of Kathleen Wynne but the woman is sly if nothing else and knows which way the political winds blow. Playing one’s hand too early is not always astute. I suspect voter anger is deeply ingrained that may would be prepared to vote PC just to finally ditch the Liberals.

  • Kurt Koster

    Astute observations Pepper.