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 “”, 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.

Eves on his career

ernie-eves-pc-party.jpgFormer premier and PC Party leader of Ontario Ernie Eves gave a candid and honest view of his tenure as premier of the province to Ian Urquhart of the Toronto Star. While the Tories have revitalized themselves with new leadership, Eves gives a sense of where the party lost its footing leading up to the election and where it needs to go from here.

Some interesting quotes:

“The best advice I could give him (McGuinty) was: trust your inner self. Sometimes you’ll be advised to do things that something inside you tells you isn’t the right thing to do, and you’re going to have to have the courage to (say), `That’s all very interesting, but we ain’t doing it that way. We’re going to do it this way.’ Because at the end of the day you’re going to be the one who pays for it.” — Ernie Eves

“The strength of our party has always been that when we do fall on bad times, we have been able to revitalize our party. … I think the party now has a tremendous opportunity because, rightly or wrongly, and I’m not knocking Frank or Jim, I think the party now has chosen a leader that doesn’t have the Harris-Eves baggage. And I think that’s a tremendous opportunity.” — Ernie Eves

“I think he’s been captured by exactly what I advised him not to be captured by. I think Dalton McGuinty is basically a decent guy, but he doesn’t have the experience that some of us had going into the job. … You can’t please all the people all the time in public life. … You can govern for a while on political spin. You may even get lucky and win an election. But I think ultimately at the end of the day people get a sense of what you’re about.” — Ernie Eves

“I don’t regret one moment I’ve spent in public life, and there have been some that have been more pleasant than others. I think people go into public life because they want to try and make a difference. … I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity and then to be able to serve in cabinet” — Ernie Eves