Canadian Policy

Byelection loss sinks Wynne’s plan to gain some momentum

The outcome of last week’s byelection in the provincial riding of Whitby-Oshawa delivers at least three warnings for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario’s Liberal premier, Kathleen Wynne.

The byelection was called to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of the popular Progressive Conservative MPP Christine Elliott, widow of former federal finance minister Jim Flaherty. Elliott quit after she was defeated for the Ontario PC leadership by Patrick Brown, a right-wing Conservative member of Parliament.

Policy is only part of the Tory problem

"I think we need to talk about the things we stand for, not so much the things we stand against."

— Rona Ambrose, interim federal Conservative leader

Ambrose is no dummy. She knows the Conservative party faces an identity crisis. She knows the party will not regain power simply by opposing most everything on the agenda of the Trudeau Liberals.

One less newspaper really does matter

"A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself." — playwright Arthur Miller, 1961

The Guelph Mercury, which died last week at age 149, was a good newspaper. Sister paper to the Waterloo Region Record, the Mercury may not have had the reach of the Globe and Mail or the Toronto Star, but in its best days the "Merc" was the information lifeblood of Guelph and environs.

Trudeau had it and Stanfield did not

Luck is a precious thing in politics.

To take a couple of examples among Canadian leaders, Justin Trudeau has had good luck, oodles of it, in his short career, while Robert Stanfield had none when he needed it most.

Let's start with Bob Stanfield, the man they called the "best prime minister Canada never had." Stanfield was the immensely popular Progressive Conservative premier of Nova Scotia. Folks in his province contended he could keep getting re-elected as long as he lived — and maybe for one election posthumously.