Randy Hillier knows how to handle a wedge

Randy Hillier has been putting out some very “debate-able” policy during this campaign. I’d like to see more discussion and debate from the candidates on where they’d like to take the PC Party in the future. Unfortunately, the main motivation for the leadership candidates at this point is membership sales and perhaps some candidates see that a policy discussion would cause too much differentiation and rock the boat when it comes to signing up potential members.

Randy Hillier has already announced a number of policies. This unusual strategy is likely being executed so that Randy can gain more media attention as he is the underdog in this race. Ending the ban on the spring bear hunt, electing our senators from Ontario, abolishing the Human Rights Commissions and proposing a Freedom of Association and Conscience Act are just a few policies that Hillier has mixed into the race.

I’ve learned that Hillier will soon be announcing a policy to rename the party. That’s right. Instead of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, Hillier proposes that we rename it the Conservative Party of Ontario. This is sure to ruffle some feathers in the party as there is a strong red Tory element to the PC Party but personally, I’ve always thought the term “Progressive Conservative” was like apologizing with the first breath of your introduction. The name also implies that you want to be all things to all people rather than standing firm on your principles. “Conservative? Oh, don’t worry, we’re ‘progressive’ too!” Our strategy should be to win swing voters. “Progressive”, in the modern context, has increased in its partisan undertones as “liberals” in the United States have rebranded as “progressives”.

What do you think? Should we rename the party?

Comments

comments

  • http://progressiveright.blogspot.com/ Jim (Progressive Right)

    You only want to change the name of a party to either associate or disassociate it from another party (see the Yukon Party, and the discussions around the Alberta Liberal Party).

    If you change the name of the party to the Conservative Party of Ontario, you'll be forever linked to the Conservative Party of Canada.

    Is this the right time to do that?

  • Ben

    Yes. We should rename the party. The Conservative Party was named PC to appease people who would never vote for us anyway.

  • Ker

    How well do you think that would sit with the Conservative Party of Canada? The CPC constitution says that the CPC informally endorses, but is not formally affiliated with, the various provincial Conservative parties. It seems people enjoy the extra level of distinction.

    In the end, I think it’s a non-issue because good policy is what matters anyway. Both Mike Harris and Ralph Klein were able to get some genuinely conservative things done as “Progressive” Conservative premiers.

  • Laurie

    Nope, too close to the Federal name, maybe the Ontario Conservative Party though.

    I like Randy, he's a breath of fresh air amongst all the fuzzy wuzzy PC clones who just want to be everybody's friend. The party has stuck with that type for far too long and look where it's got them and us, we were hardpressed to get loyal Conservative voters to stay home rather than vote Liberal in protest during the last election.

  • http://progressiveright.blogspot.com/ Jim (Progressive Right)

    The Conservative Party was renamed PC to appease John Bracken.

  • Phil

    Progressive Conservative is also an oxymoron. The CPC did better in 2008 than the PCPO did in 2007 so I don’t think renaming the party the Conservative Party of Ontario is going to have a negative impact.

  • Phil

    Well Jim, Dalton’s party is called the Liberal Party of Ontario and Iggy’s party’s called the Liberal Party of Canada. When the LPC tanked in 2006 did it affect the LPO from winning a majority in 2007? Nope!

  • http://miltonconservative.blogspot.com Bill MacLean

    Why oh why can’t we discuss how we will govern ourselves in the future? It seems like noone wants to offend as many as one potential voter. We need to clearly define what we stand for. We need to do it in a way that the average person can understand and relate to.

    Capitalism or Socialism? Do you think it’s ok for the government to take your iPod and give it to the person next door?

    Do you think that the money you work hard to earn should be taken away and given to retired civil servants causing you to have to work till YOU die?

    Do you think that union members who vote solely in their own interest should be able to raid your bank account for essential services?

    These are the kinds of things we need to dicuss, not what to call ourselves or how to part our hair.

  • C Ralph

    I think it will LOSE swing voters. Why would voters who MIGHT vote Liberal move to the PC's because they are less progressive.

    It might win some Libertarians who resent the Progressive name!

  • Dorothy Robinson

    I'm voting Hillier

  • Doug

    As a long-time PC supporter (40+ years) I would hate to see the name change. I think it could very well cost the party votes from folks who identify as fiscal conservatives/social liberals and who are not enamoured with Harper. Whyt mess with it?

  • Liberal Supporter

    Yes Please!

  • Liz J

    That's a great idea. Get rid of Progressive, personally never liked it. The Liberals will take to using it. The federal Liberals have been calling themselves progressive since the Federal Conservatives under their new amalgamation dumped it. It's monkey see, monkey do with the US Democrats. Their aping will then be complete with Iggy spouting Obama dialogue containing the words “hope” and “change”.

  • Rick

    It doesn't matter. People I talk to know the parties (fed and prov) as The Conservatives, The Liberals, and The NDP. Besides, I think worrying about dropping the word “Progressive” is giving us Ontarians too much credit. We elected Dalton twice. D'ya really think we know what we're doing?

  • Phil

    PCPO = Politically Correct Party of Ontario

  • Phil

    What's Clause IV? New Labour?

  • Michael Read

    Merits aside, isn’t this something a leader champions after winning the leadership? Seems like he’s putting the cart before the horse. Campaigning within the party for the removal of Clause IV made Tony Blair and the Labour Party a viable choice in England, but Blair was leader when he began that crusade.

  • Phil

    Ya, but the Conservative Party of Canada won more voters and a higher voter share than the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. If naming your party Conservative alienates swing voters then why did the CPC do better than the PCPO?

  • sor

    Just do what we did out here in BC and rename yourself the Liberal party of Ontario. The conservative party in BC is called the Liberal Party of BC and they have no trouble getting elected. It also then forces the Liberals to call themselves NDP. That solves everyone’s problem. Cheers.

  • http://www.bloggingtories.ca ferrethouse

    Yes – rename the party. I read that Hillier also supports the abolishment of the human rights tribunals (section 13). I’m really liking this guy.

  • Phil

    Hillier won't win but he'll draw a lot of the right-wing support away from Hudak and Klees (especially Hudak).

  • Observant

    Should be renamed to: LIBERAL CONSERVATIVE PARTY ……!!!!!!!

    … offering the best of both worlds to Morontario voters who ran like lemmings to McGuinty Grits in the last election …. so might as well trick them into believing the McGuinty Liberals are neither Liberal enough nor Conservative enough..!!!

  • http://progressiveright.blogspot.com/ Jim (Progressive Right)

    Dalton made sure to publicly distance the Ontario Liberal Party from the LPC, the PCPO ran a poor campaign, and fair weather “c”onservatives stayed home.

    That's why the Ontario Liberal Party won a majority in 2007.

  • http://www.lassooftruth.com Wonder Woman

    Personally, I'd like to see them renamed The NeoCon party, but I suppose this will do ;)

  • sm

    I think that the new name will make it plain that the days of being a fiscal conservative are over, and that if you want to be part of the conservative party now, you need to be a fundamentist christian who doesnt believe in evolution (kind of funny when some of the best dinosaurs in Canada can be found in Alberta!), and you have to want to bring capital punishment back, as well as publicly make racist comments about immigrants. You know, Joe Clark was a decent man. Decency no longer has a place in the conservative party. Both my parents have given it up (not decency I mean, but the conservative party) Might as well change the name so that there is no going back…..

  • Sister_Iris

    The more Hillier talks, the happier the Grits are.

  • http://streetadvisorconsulting.blogspot.com markalanwhittle

    This is not a good time to be fooling around with name changes and re-branding initiatives. We will always be seen as Conservatives with a heart.

  • jonevan

    Yes, change the name. For two reasons: one is to begin again, fresh and with new vision and two to differentiate yourself from the federal conservative party in case something should happen there. This worked for Saskatchewan as they now have a majority. So, if you are going to the trouble to change the name then call it: The Ontario Party. Let’s put some provincial patriotism into it and create a spirit and an enthusiasm to rescue Ontario from what the Liberals have done to it

  • dillon

    Yes. Time to go back to the Robarts/Frost principles. The only ethnic group that will object is the GTA Italians. They are true Liberals. We have the peasants from the south

  • Peter

    This is a discussion that will only divide the party and turn members against each other instead of focusing on the common enemy – the Liberals. This isn't the issue on the minds of Ontarians. Many are losing their jobs, their savings and their pensions. Some of that is due to the policies, the lack of policies and the sorry lack of leadership and planning from the Liberals. If this contest is going to be about labels, freedom and association, the spring bear hunt, and senators, I expect 11 million Ontarians' eyes will glaze over in disbelief that any party would consider these issues more important than jobs, the economy, irresponsible government spending in good times leading to unconscionable deficits in bad, an almost total lack of planning, health care in crisis, and so on. Furthermore, any candidate who tells us all what pre-determined policies will be in the next platform ignores the party policy process and the input of grassroots members – the same process from which came the Common Sense Revolution in its day. I trust the process. “Firm in principle” and “flexible in policy” are not necessarily mutually exclusive. In fact real “progress” demands conservative principles. How ironic that the left has laughably hi-jacked the word “progressive” for their policies that are anything but.

  • rector

    call yourselves assholes as that’s what you are

  • rom

    i don't see Randy as dictating policy and election platform. he's saying “this is where i stand on these issues just so you know who you are voting for when you vote for a leader.” When time comes to make policy and platform, we know where Randy stands but the party membership still decides on policy. People need to know what the leadership candidates stand before they choose vs. the wishy washy politicians who promise everything to everyone and then turn out to be putting special interest groups ahead of Joe and Jill public.

    My take: the PCPO is run by elitists for elitists. Money buys elections and favours.

    What matters? That the same old PCPO wins elections and serves the good'ol boys club> Or do we turn the PCPO into a party by the grassroots for the grassroots. The risk is that the money won't support a grassroots party. You can expect a vicious attack in the media against grassroots compliments of the club.

    There's too much bickering between blues and reds. You can't assume because Harris won past majorities that a hard blue platform would win today. Other things have changed.

    The PCPO will need support from the 905. Randy has taken message to rurals. That message needs to be broadened to urban grass roots.

    The reality is the odds are that the grassroots will be defeated. But is it worth trying?

  • Michael Read

    Clause IV was the pledge in the party constitution to nationalize major industry. It was adopted in Labour's early days prior to WWI.

  • Michael Read

    Clause IV was the pledge in the party constitution to nationalize major industry. It was adopted in Labour's early days prior to WWI.

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