Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Could Sue-Ann Levy Curb Liberal Election Plans?

A Tory win would signal trouble in Toronto for Liberals

To say that Toronto has been a Conservative party wasteland for the last 10 years would be an understatement.

Since Mike Harris merged the various municipalities surrounding Toronto into the modern "megacity" of Toronto, the Conservative party has never elected a single candidate in the city -- neither provincially nor federally.

The nomination of Sue-Ann Levy -- a "married lesbian" and frequent critic of Toronto mayor David Miller -- seems to have given the Ontario Progressive Conservative party a very real opportunity to break the long shut out suffered by Conservatives in the city.

Even as federal Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff insists his party hasn't yet decided whether or not to defeat Stephen Harper's government in September, the implications of a Levy victory in the September 17 by-election would likely force Ignatieff to blink.

Recent calls for Premier Dalton McGunity to delay the by-election have led many to speculate that the provincial Liberals are worried they may lose the contest.

Coming from the Toronto Sun, one would be tempted to discard that kind of speculation. But when it appears in the Toronto Star, it quickly becomes apparent that the hype may well be real.

Levy has a variety of issues she can attack the McGuinty government on. Before one even looks at the eHealth scandal, there are the matters of a slew of new municipal taxes for which Levy blames the provincial government.

There also seems to be a lack of faith in Liberal candidate Dr Eric Hoskins' will to match Levy blow-for-blow.

"It's a smart candidate for Hudak," admitted a Liberal insider. "She'll be a puncher and will Hoskins be a counterpuncher? I don't know."

There is also the matter of Dr Hoskins' defeat in his 2008 bid to become the Member of Parliament for Haldmand-Norfolk, a contest he lost to Diane Finley. There are also questions about whether or not Dr Hoskins' previous work -- he's a co-founder and the current President of War Child Canada -- will be of use in Queen's Park.

If Levy manages to emerge victorious from the September 17 vote Canadians can expect Michael Ignatieff to think twice about making a play for a fall election. But at least he'll be better off than Dalton McGuinty. For the current Ontario Premier, that could prove to be the beginning of the end.

Other bloggers writing about this topic:

MJ Murphy - "The Downside of Sue-Ann Levy"

Dr Roy Eappen - "Sue-Ann Levy"

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