Tories, post-Tory

A chance for the party to start again

John Tory’s defeat in the Haliburton-Kawartha byelection obviously puts an end to his career as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party, and probably to any further political aspirations. It’s a hard end for a good man — but it’s probably for the best. His leadership was crippled as it was by the party’s crushing defeat in the last general election and its bizarre, I’m-quitting-no-I’m-not aftermath, and the likelihood is that he would have been in for a rough ride even had he won the byelection.

More to the point, whatever his personal qualities, he did not present a vision of the party that could inspire its followers or attract the uncommitted. Or rather, he did not represent one. The party that chose Tory as its leader was a party that had lost its nerve, its sense of direction, and, in a sense, its mind: once a party of “revolution,” it had grown uninterested in ideas, or in differing in any serious way with the McGuinty Liberals. So it went with a leader who promised nothing but decency, good management, and presentability: all very good things, but insufficient in politics, and certainly for a politics that matters.

So now they, and he, can start again. There’s no shame in that.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.