Or is there more to Tim Hudak than meets the eye?
When Tim Hudak recently won the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party, many people expected to see that party take a hard right turn.
Bearing the support of former Ontario Premier Mike Harris, hailing himself as a "common sense conservative", and having set the Ontario Human Rights Commission in his gun sights, many expected to see a solid social conservative platform to emerge out of Hudak's leadership.
What is emerging seems to be very different.
After giving his leadership rivals Christine Elliott and Frank Klees -- whom he had described as "Liberal lite" -- positions in his Shadow Cabinet, what seems to be emerging is an Ontario PC party that is continuing to make efforts to be more of a "big tent" conservative coalition.
Just as his shadow cabinet appointments seem to contradict the expectations of a socially conservative direction for his party, the Ontario PCs courting of newspaper columnist Sue-Ann Levy seems to add further contradiction -- and further hope for those wishing for a big tent conservative party.
There's certainly nothing unsurprising about the PCs wanting to recruit a Toronto Sun columnist -- especially one who is such a vociferous critic of Toronto Mayor David Miller.
But aside from being a stalwart fiscal conservative, Levy is also gay. In fact, she marked Toronto Pride week 2007 by coming out with a front-page column.
She could also help shore up Jewish support in the St Paul's riding.
The riding is coming up for a by-election, as longtime Liberal MPP Michael Bryant left for a job in the private sector.
Bryant was previously involved with the controversial "No Gun, No Funeral" campaign, making winning his former riding a very enticing prize for the Tories.
With Sue-Ann Levy as their candidate, the Conservatives may have a very real shot (pun definitely not intended) at winning this riding. They would definitely have a very real shot (pun still unintended) at re-branding their party and their new leader as a kinder, gentler Conservative party.
Other bloggers writing about this topic:
MJ Murphy - "A Nightmare is Also a Dream"
Walker Morrow - "The Secret World of the HRCs"