Hudak campaign responds regarding push poll

Blair McCreadie, the co-chair of the Tim Hudak campaign wrote me a letter to clarify what’s been going on from their campaign’s perspective with respect to the push poll they allege the Klees campaign conducted. Here is Blair’s letter:

Here is the Klees release:

The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario has completed an internal hearing by the Rules and Appeals committee, with all PC leadership campaigns invited, concerning the complaint raised by the Tim Hudak Campaign against the Frank Klees Campaign.

The Party has concluded the following: “Upon hearing the submissions and evidence of the Tim Hudak Campaign and the Frank Klees Campaign, the Board determined the complaint was without merit.”

“The Hudak Campaign broke their much-touted 11th Commandment by falsely accusing the Klees Campaign of breaking campaign rules,” explained John Capobianco, Klees Campaign Chair. “I am pleased that the PC Party of Ontario, in its deliberations, came to the right decision – that the complaint launch by the Tim Hudak Campaign was without merit.”

To read the decision in full, click here: http://ontariopc.com/~/media/7C856423D85B4397A711FE522826B594.ashx

80 minus One

I’ve heard word tonight that those who are seeking to review John Tory’s leadership at the 2008 AGM, are setting the bar for that vote.

80% is the amount of support that that members of the ad hoc “yes” campaign have set for Tory for the vote at the February meeting.

UPDATE: Here is the Press Release

80 Minus One

December 12, 2007 – Windsor, On – Nick Kouvalis, owner of the DraftALeader.com website announced today the launch of a new campaign – 80 Minus One. The upcoming Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario Leadership Review represents the will of the party. In order to effectively lead that party for the next four years and ultimately into the next election, John Tory must carry the vast majority of delegates at the convention.

Previous leadership races have set the bar high:

Ralph Klien: 55% – resigned
Joe Clark: 66.9% – leadership race
Dalton McGuinty: 81% – elected Premier
Stephen Harper: 84% – elected Prime Minister

“John Tory was recently quoted in a CBC Windsor story as claiming to command the support of a “vast majority” of the party” said Kouvalis. “We agree. To effectively lead this party forward, a significant majority is required”

“John Tory is in Ottawa today campaigning for votes from Ontario MP’s, who are ex-officio delegates to our convention.” Kouvalis stated “We want to ensure that MPs know the grassroots of this party have a voice and opinion on this issue.”

Visit DraftALeader.com to view or download the “80 Minus One” campaign video.

For more information contact:

Nick Kouvalis, Campaign Chair
DraftALeader.com
519-791-9663
nick@draftaleader.com

UPDATE: Here’s the video referenced in the press release:

RELATED: My interview with Nick Kouvalis.
My interview with John Capobianco.

Tory ouster? Capobianco responds

John Tory is in Ottawa tomorrow to meet with members of the Ontario CPC caucus and key federal Conservative strategists. Of course, the PCPO leader comes to the nation’s capital under the cloud of a challenge of a possible leadership review being organized by conservative strategist Nick Kouvlalis, who is leading the charge for a review with his “yes” campaign. The leader of the “no” (to review) campaign is John Capobianco, a long-time conservative organizer in his own right. After interviewing Kouvalis on his efforts last week, I immediately sought to ask Capobianco a set of questions about the possible leadership review and his team’s efforts to shield Tory and promote him as a strong leader for the party membership.

Much is being made of Tory’s tour to connect with the membership for feedback and for a post-mortem to the election loss. Critics on both sides of the debate argue about the merits of how these consultations are being held. Tory’s people would seem to claim that these consultations show a grassroots effort to consult the membership, while the “yes” campaign suggests that the consultations are framed by Tory and show little accountability. Capobianco seems to counter the self-proclaimed label of “grassroots” by the “yes” campaign by suggesting that the campaign is being organized by a handful of senior conservatives.

First shot fired in battle over Tory’s future

Next year, in February, Ontario provincial conservatives will converge on London for their annual general meeting. Ontario PC leader John Tory is sure to face pressure before that time from Ontario Tories regarding his leadership after a poor showing during the last General Election.

Today, a press release landed in my inbox from “DraftALeader.com”, a website “with the goal of giving a voice back to the grassroots of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario”. The man behind the effort is conservative Nick Kouvalis, a campaign manager from Windsor Ontario. He writes, “It’s all about accountability and John Tory’s leadership of the Party. He made the last campaign all about leadership. The people of Ontario had their say in a vote, now it’s time for the membership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. I recently attended a campaign debrief put on by John Tory to explain the dismal performance of the PCPO in the last election” said Kouvalis. “Obviously there are many people who have serious concerns about that campaign. These issues all come back to ‘Leadership’ and that is why we are here today.”

Kouvalis is calling for Ontario PC members to vote “yes” to a leadership review.

I contacted Kouvalis for an interview via email.

Of course, we can infer that what Kouvalis and his co-travelers are doing is securing delegate spots at the upcoming convention in order to vote “yes” to a question of whether or not the PC Party of Ontario should review the leadership of John Tory and we can infer that Kouvalis intends to hasten Tory’s retirement. Of course, all Tories believe in taking the pulse of congregating delegates on this question (for lack of a better system. *cough* One member, one vote *cough*), but critics would say that Kouvalis’ strategy here is to bring his agenda to the meeting.

So far, at Kouvalis’ website, he has Elizabeth Witmer, Tim Hudak, Christine Elliot, and Frank Klees under “pick a leader”. It is unclear as to whether these Ontario conservatives endorse Kouvalis’ efforts or whether they have simply been selected as potential future candidates for leadership. Noticeably absent in the list is John Tory, which further indicates what may be the real intent of the site. Hudak and Klees have been rumoured to covet the top job.

Of course, as a number of PC Tories were upset by the electoral defeat a couple of months ago, the unveiling of such a site was only a matter of time. And, of course, the first move was theirs to make.

I have contacted John Capobianco, the “point person” of the “No” campaign of the leadership review. Answers to questions that I will pose to him will of course receive equal time here.