Now for one that we're all guilty of- municipal, federal, provincial, base, party brass, whatever.
After Ford's win and Harper's majority, we assumed the Liberals were dead. I assumed the Liberals were dead. I was wrong. We were wrong.
The Liberal talking points about the trifecta are well documented. Whether this affected people's voting decisions is a matter of debate.
What is not a matter of debate is that accepting so much open and- after Ford's troubles early in the campaign- covert help by municipal and federal conservatives made the PCPO look like it couldn't run a campaign by itself.
By contrast, the provincial Liberals made it clear they didn't want help from the feds. I didn't see Bob Rae once on the campaign trail. But the Liberals went even further than that and actively told defeated MP's like Mark Holland, Dan McTeague, and Gerard Kennedy that they didn't want them to run. I received reports of these former Liberal MP's working on various campaigns, but only in a volunteer capacity.
We saw quite clearly that Ford's troubles became our troubles early in the campaign. Not just because Hudak had gone to that barbecue at Ford's house, but because there were certain similarities between the two campaigns.
Recall that during Ford's campaign for mayor, the following happened:
-Ford repeated the same talking points over and over again. Subways, not streetcars. Stop the gravy train.
-Ford was accused of being a racist for making comments to the effect that Toronto couldn't handle any more immigrants.
-There were some radio ads, in a foreign language, that some tried to link to Ford and were criticized as homophobic.
So how come the two outcomes were so different? Because Hudak isn't Ford. Ford sounds a lot more sincere when he's saying the same things over and over again. With Hudak, it doesn't seem natural because you know he has other things he wants to say. Ford was also a city councillor for 10 years, and everyone knew who he was and what to expect from him. Hudak is still a rookie.
Then, when the NDP started surging, we dusted off the coalition line of attack Harper had used during the federal campaign. But too many people associated this with Harper, so when Hudak started using it, it was all the more obvious that we were just hoping for a replay of the federal election.
To counter the Liberal claims that we are just taking orders from Harper and Ford, we need to develop our own lines of attack, separate from any other party and unique to Ontario. We need to show we can fight and beat the Liberals on our own. It starts with letting Tim Hudak be himself and letting him and showcase his own ideas.
And we cannot ever- ever- assume that the Liberals are dead until they are.