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Monday, April 15, 2024

Randall Denley: Bonnie Crombie’s dismal little victory Specific Occasions

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Mississauga mayor wins Ontario Liberal management in tighter-than-predicted vote — and the battle has solely begun for the shrivelled social gathering

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New Ontario Liberal chief Bonnie Crombie is meant to be the saviour of her social gathering, the candidate endorsed by what’s left of the social gathering institution, the political all-star with identify recognition and electability. Her marketing campaign was so certain that she’d blow away her three brilliant, however little identified, opponents that they predicted a primary poll victory.

In the long run, the anticipated tidal wave of help was little greater than a ripple. It took three ballots earlier than Crombie was capable of eke out a slender win Saturday over MP Nate Erskine-Smith, taking 53.4 per cent of the vote.

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Even worse, the turnout for the management vote was dismal. Crombie and the opposite management contenders have been crisscrossing the province for the reason that spring, promoting memberships and attempting to stoke enthusiasm. Whereas 103,206 individuals maintain Liberal memberships, solely 22,827 thought it value their whereas to forged a poll within the management contest. Crombie received vastly extra help when she received the Mississauga mayoralty in 2022, receiving greater than 83,000 votes.

The low turnout is embarrassing for the Liberals, who had boasted in regards to the massive enhance in membership numbers. Within the final two management contests, the social gathering had solely 44,000 and 38,000 members.

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Regardless of the shortage of curiosity from her personal members, Crombie caught to her favorite catchphrase in her victory speech. “Being an Ontario Liberal is again.” Effectively, type of.

Crombie describes herself as a retail politician, and it appears to be her power. The 63-year-old is energetic and upbeat. The suburban mom of three might be relatable for lots of voters. Her life story is fairly compelling. Crombie got here from a low-income background, received a great training, held a wide range of enterprise jobs, and has had a profitable profession in politics as an MP and Mississauga mayor. She’s clearly a striver with plenty of drive.

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Sadly, what this retail politician is promoting is quite a bit much less clear. Crombie’s management platform, now scrubbed from her web site, was a digital catalogue, providing 256 insurance policies below 13 broad headings. The one factor she failed to supply is even a cursory thought of how a Crombie authorities may pay for all her plans.

Maybe the strategy was only a management candidate’s try to supply one thing to the utmost variety of social gathering members, but it surely suggests an individual whose power is neither readability nor precedence setting.

Feedback Crombie made early in her marketing campaign additionally demonstrated confusion about what she stands for. In interviews, she mentioned the Liberals had veered too far left, and described herself as “a centrist, even right-of-centre, with a powerful enterprise background.” Crombie steered that former premier Kathleen Wynne had spent an excessive amount of on little one care and well being care. Crombie additionally mentioned on the day she introduced her candidacy that she’d be open to swapping out some parcels of Greenbelt land.

Crombie in the end retracted her centre-right and Greenbelt feedback, however she was appropriate on each factors. Not each sq. inch of the Greenbelt must be sacrosanct, and her social gathering received’t regain energy by attempting to compete with the NDP and the Greens on the left. Sadly, the retractions go away the impression that Crombie is the type of chief who thinks one factor and says the alternative.

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As chief, Crombie faces 4 vital challenges. The primary is making a a lot clearer concentrate on what she and her social gathering are all about. What two or three challenge will outline them and appeal to voters? Crombie must do that whereas studying the information of provincial politics. For instance, her suggestion that Wynne spent an excessive amount of on well being care is nonsense. Beneath-spending on hospitals, medical doctors, nurses and long-term care undermined the province’s well being system and can take years to repair.

Defining what drives her and her social gathering might be essential to the subsequent two challenges, elevating cash and attracting high quality candidates. With the subsequent election greater than two years away, Crombie has time to perform these objectives, however the work should begin instantly,

Lastly, Crombie must resolve what to do about discovering a seat within the legislature. Saturday, she steered that she may run in Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, when a byelection is known as to interchange former labour minister Monte McNaughton. That might be a dangerous transfer. The PCs received that seat with practically 60 per cent of the vote and the Liberals received lower than 10 per cent.

Because the chief of a nine-MPP social gathering, Crombie’s path to energy might be lengthy and tough, however the brand new chief has ample vitality and enthusiasm. She’s going to want it.

Randall Denley is an Ottawa journalist, writer and former Ontario PC candidate. Contact him at randalldenley1@gmail.com

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