Monday, February 01, 2010

What Bob Runciman's Appointment Really Means for Tim Hudak

Runciman appointment poses new HST-related trouble for Tory leader

After MPP Bob Runciman was appointed to the Senate, Tim Hudak issued a sparkling statement about Runciman's contributions to the Province of Ontario and to his party.

"Losing one of the most effective and tenacious MPPs in a generation, the Ontario Legislature will be a much quieter place without Bob Runciman," Hudak said. “As a Member of Provincial Parliament, senior cabinet minister and Interim Leader, Bob has been a consistent and determined champion for victims of crime, front-line police officers, the law enforcement community, and hard working Ontario families."

"While his commanding presence will be missed in the Legislature, his many accomplishments including 1,000 new front-line police officers and establishing a Survivor’s Tuition Fund for families of fallen police officers bode very well for advancing the federal government’s initiatives to fight crime and strengthen the young offenders system."

One couldn't expect anything but such a sparkling statement from Runciman's party leader.

But as Hudak continues to face off with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty over the recently-passed HST, he will likely face continuing difficulties over the issue, as his former deputy leader will likely vote to support it in the Senate.

“I’m particularly keen to have a fellow proponent of the HST up on Parliament Hill," noted Premier Dalton McGuinty. "Bob’s been a longtime backer, so it will be great to have him in a position of influence up there."

Although Runciman had previously voiced his support -- in principle -- for the HST, he also criticized the lack of public consulation over the controversial matter.

Runciman isn't the only federal politician to differ with close provincial colleagues over the matter. Christine Elliott and federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty are husband and wife, although it hasn't affected their home life.

If Runciman does vote in favour of Harmonizing the GST and Ontario's PST, it will almost certainly take some of the fire out of Hudak's attack on the matter in Queen's Park. This is rather unfortunate, as there are as many reasons to oppose the HST as there are to back it.

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