Peter Shurman alleges that Tony Genco handed out about $150,000 in bonuses to the the CEO of York Central Hospital and her chief of staff. He allegedly did so in his role as former treasurer and chair of the hospital. Shurman also points out that the CEO that received the bonus from Genco has also donated $1,500 to the McGuinty Liberals. York Central Hospital ran a $4 million deficit last year and an $11 million deficit this year.
In other news: $12 million landed on York Central Hospital’s doorstep yesterday, courtesy of the Ontario Health Minister:
An early Christmas gift was unwrapped at York Central Hospital Tuesday morning as Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long Term Care Dr. Deb Matthews announced $12.1 million in additional operating funding for the health centre.
I’ve been hitting the phone, email and blackberry PIN asking known PC organizers, student leaders and strategists who’s been calling them “testing the waters”. I’ve learned that there are at least seven people considering a bid for the Ontario PC leadership to succeed John Tory. Here they are:
Tim Hudak: The perceived front-runner for the PC leadership is backed by a number of student/youth leaders, much of the party executive but has shallow support in caucus. Hudak’s people are pushing for an early leadership election (June) in order to deprive oxygen from other rivals who are trying to catch up. Hudak has been billed as a “true-blue conservative” by many of his supporters.
Christine Elliott: MPP from Whitby-Oshawa, lawyer and wife of Canada’s federal Conservative finance minister, Jim Flaherty. Flaherty ran for the PC leadership against John Tory and the organization and team may fall into place should Elliott contest the leadership.
Frank Klees: Among Hudak and Elliott, Klees rounds out the top three frontrunners who are making active and concerted pitchs to potential supporters to form a team for the 2009 leadership race. Klees ran against Tory for leadership in 2004 and served as a cabinet minister under Premier Harris.
Randy Hillier: Hillier is the former president of the Lanark Landowners Association and has represented a defiant conservative streak during his time in the Ontario legislature. The most conservative among the lot, many see a bid by Hillier as principled yet politically untenable. According to my sources, Hillier has been pushing for a later leadership election.
Peter Shurman: One of the only gains during the last election for the Ontario PC, Shurman is the MPP for Thornhill. A former broadcaster and businessman, Shurman has the profile and resources for a serious bid though my sources say that he is testing the waters carefully at this time. (update: Shurman’s out, but was considering this possibility)
Peter van Loan: Yes, the Conservative federal minister for Public Safety is said to be “leaving the door” open for a potential run at the provincial party leadership. PVL is the former president of the PC Party of Ontario, former government House leader for the Conservative government and, in his previous private sector life, he was a successful lawyer in Toronto. Van Loan is a “no guff” style administrator and would likely bring order to a divisive caucus that churned under Tory.
Dean Del Mastro: Del Mastro is the federal Conservative MP from Peterborough and has served in the House of Commons since 2006. Mr. Del Mastro is also allowing talk to circulate about a potential leadership shot to make a bid for the Premier’s office in the next Ontario election. Del Mastro plays the wouded partisan role well and this may be the contrast to John Tory’s approach that Ontario PC partisans are seeking. Del Mastro has been a visible member of the CPC caucus and has done a good job to raise his media profile in the short time he’s been in Parliament. (update: Del Mastro has ruled out a run at leadership but confirmed that he was approached to run the day of John Tory’s resignation)
UPDATE: Shurman says he’s out, Elizabeth Witmer says she’s considering a run.
Earlier tonight, as the polls came in, it became clearer and clearer that PC Party of Ontario leader John Tory would lose his last chance at challenging Dalton McGuinty for the Premier’s office. By the time the Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock by-election was called by the Canadian Press at about 10:30pm, Tory’s margin of loss represented a 9% point drop from former PC MPP Laurie Scott’s electoral footing. Scott beat her opponent by 20% during the last provincial election.
Tory has scheduled a press conference for Friday and many expect the embattled leader to resign. Having faced a humiliating loss in the previous provincial election after championing a policy on religious school choice and polarizing the party after a divisive leadership review, it is unknown how the former CEO of Rogers and commissioner of the CFL expects to quarterback his team after this evening’s loss of what was considered a “safe seat”. Tory did hint to reporters tonight – and I’m paraphrasing – that his future ‘may not be in public life’.
From reports on the ground, party workers were not expecting this loss though some cite the typical organizational campaign and e-day deficiencies. I have it on good authority that the PCs did not do any internal polling in the riding for this contest. (I have it on better authority that polling was done and 10 days prior to e-day and it showed Tory trailing by 5 points).
As a leader, John Tory retired the debt of the PC Party bringing the party’s fiscal position back into the black. The party will hopefully continue to benefit from his strengths as a fundraiser. Many have described Tory as a good man, though not the right man. Despite his shortcomings tonight, public service is a sacrifice to one’s family life and career and I know that Conservatives, myself included, are thankful for his tireless contributions. From my personal experience, I’ve known Tory to be a dedicated, passionate and faithful activist for Canadian Conservatives. I know that he’ll continue to be committed to advancing our parties both provincially and federally.
Names of potential candidates to replace Tory as leader of the PCPO that are being pushed around tonight include Christine Elliot, John Yakabuski, Randy Hillier, Peter Shurman and Tim Hudak. It is expected that many will step forward as there were many known to be waiting in the wings prior to the previous leadership review.
An interesting and chaotic era in provincial Conservative politics begins tomorrow. Rebuilding starts in the morning.
FLASHBACK: Five years ago this month, I met John Tory as he went on a provincial listening tour before contesting the provincial PC leadership.