Ontario Liberal Party Leadership - Fleishman
Ontario Liberal Party Leadership
33 Bloor St. E.
Spring election not a guarantee
As the Ontario Liberal leadership vote
fast approaches, many are starting to
look past the convention to the likelihood
of a spring election.
With NDP leader Andrea Horwath saying
she would prefer not to head to the polls
and the PCs continuing to release policy
papers, Liberal leadership frontrunners
Sandra Pupatello and Kathleen Wynne
both say they would be willing to at some
level work with the opposition parties.
Pupatello walked a fine line in her
speech to the Toronto Board of Trade on
Friday, saying that while a coalition with
the NDP is off the table, she intends to
engage in conversations with both
opposition leaders. At a Toronto Star
editorial board meeting earlier in the
week, Kathleen Wynne said she would
work with the opposition, while ruling out
a formal coalition. The message was
clear: both want to acknowledge the
delicacy of the situation while appearing
authoritative enough to lead without
bowing to opposition pressure.
A key consideration heading into the
next Legislative session is the Liberal
Party’s chances in a spring election. If
the Liberals risk defeat, the new Premier
is more likely to try to negotiate support
from one or both opposition parties in
order to delay a trip to the polls.
Raising money raising
January 21, 2012
Anne Marie Quinn
Several news outlets have recently put a
spotlight on the influx of large singlesource donations to the campaigns of
Liberal leadership candidates. Unlike a
general election, there are no
contribution limits in a leadership
campaign, raising concerns that large
donors will have the ear of the next
Premier. And although candidates face a
$500,000 spending limit, they can raise
more than that since 25 per cent of
donations must go back to the Party.
Given Gerard Kennedy’s promise to
implement contribution limits, it remains
to be seen if the rules change after this
Friday, January 25
9:00am-11:00pm - Registration
4:30pm - Doors open
7:00pm - Official opening
7:45pm - Tribute to Dalton McGuinty
Saturday, January 26
6:30am - Doors open
8:30-10:00am – Promotion of
8:30am- Candidate speeches and
12:10pm – Call to order and
12:30pm – Second Ballot (Delegates
vote on the First Ballot at registration)
Pupatello has taken a much wider lead
over Wynne in fundraising than she
has in delegate count, with more than
$545,000 raised. Sousa is a distant
second in fundraising, with nearly
$390,000 raised as of this reporting,
with Wynne raising nearly $372,000.
Fundraising is an important part of
ensuring a candidate has resources to
get delegates to the convention.
However, this isn’t necessarily the only
barometer of support. A candidate’s
ground work strategy can translate into
a delegate count that far exceeds fund
raising levels as we have seen with
Harinder Takhar. How this translates
into votes after the second ballot is
part of what makes the race so
Only contributions exceeding $100
must be reported to Elections Ontario.
A large number of smaller
contributions could inflate a
contestant’s total revenues.
To make ourselves as valuable to our clients as they are to us…
The Final Week
It’s the final week of campaigning for leadership candidates and that means one last push for support. With
delegates from the ridings, women’s clubs and student groups selected, many candidates are turning their focus
to ex-officios, who will account for almost 20 percent of delegates. As of Monday, Sandra Pupatello is reported to
be in the lead with the support of 90 of 419 ex-officios. Although the majority of delegates are already formally
committed to their respective candidates for the first ballot (excluding the independents and ex-officios),
generating new and maintaining existing support for subsequent ballots will be crucial to winning the leadership
race. Campaigns are working hard to generate commitments from all delegates on the second, third and fourth
Another key concern is ensuring delegates and alternates are able to make it to the convention. The cost of
attending the convention from far-away ridings, such as Thunder Bay, can be over a thousand dollars. Although
many campaigns will offer financial assistance, delegates are ultimately responsible for their own convention fees
along with travel and accommodation costs. Many candidates have set up grassroots online fundraising tools to
help delegates cover their costs.
The Takhar Effect
By focusing his campaign efforts primarily on ridings with the potential to win delegates, Harinder Takhar was able
to pull ahead of many of his fellow candidates in the delegate selection meetings. However the raised profile that
resulted has brought some unflattering media attention. Today, the Toronto Star reported a number of worker
safety infractions at CSI Sertapak Inc., the custom packaging plant owned by the Mississauga-Erindale MPP.
Citing documents retrieved through the Ministry of Labour, the Star noted that the company was issued several
“stop-work” orders prompted by lax workplace conditions.
This article follows an opinion piece last week, in which Star columnist Martin Regg Cohn poked holes in Takhar’s
claims to be a self made man who came to Canada with $7. Cohn questioned the candidate’s ethics and asserted
the thought of him as deputy premier to be “scary.” Supporters of other leadership candidates are refraining from
joining the media criticism as they hope to gain the support of Mr. Takhar and his delegates on the convention
As the convention approaches both opposition parties are becoming more vocal with their opinions on the
potential outcomes of the leadership race. At a speech to the Economic Club last week, NDP Leader Andrea
Horwath was quick to squash rumours about her willingness to engage in a coalition government with the new
Premier. Instead, she pointed out her desire to work with the new leader to move forward with her party’s policies.
While Horwath was light on the specifics surrounding her plans for the new legislative session, she referenced a
number of policy papers that her party will be releasing in the near future.
Following Tim Hudak’s less-than-flattering comments about frontrunners Sandra Pupatello and Kathleen Wynne
last week, PC MPP Lisa MacLeod took to Twitter to express her opinions on the race. The Nepean-Carleton MPP
accused Wynne of flip flops on fiscal policy and said she would be a “disaster” as Premier. Jumping on the
tweets, Wynne’s supporters used them as evidence that Wynne is the candidate most feared by the Tories.
Toronto Star Endorses Sandra Pupatello
This afternoon the Toronto Star editorial board officially endorsed Sandra Pupatello as their candidate of choice
for the leader of the Ontario Liberal party. Pupatello’s focus on jobs and the economy, her previous political
experience and decision to watch the 2011 election from the sidelines are some of the key reasons the
newspaper staff believe she is the best person to give the party a new face.
To make ourselves as valuable to our clients as they are to us…