It’s like a game show featuring five contestants: Kathleen Wynne, Sandra Pupatello, Charles Sousa, Dr. Eric Hoskins, and Gerard Kennedy. The top two are right now Wynne and Pupatello but as the cliché goes anything can happen in a convention.
I think there’s a possibility we could see Hoskins as the next Premier. Because Pupatello, Wynne and Kennedy end up cancelling each other out. All three were at some point Education Ministers in the McGuinty government. Some argue it was Kennedy who most contributed to the current state of affairs with the Teachers’ unions. Sousa’s candidacy was probably a mistake given his association with the infamous Power Plant scandal.
Pupatello and Kennedy also both don’t have seats in the Legislature. Kennedy has outlined what he would do; sit at the clerk’s desk until a seat opens up and proceed to run in the by-election. Pupatello would prefer to put off an election to for a while ; a Premier chosen by unelected party delegates instead of the people against the backdrop of a prorogued legislature: That isn’t very democratic is it?
Pupatello, Kennedy, Sousa, and Wynne are all too identified with Dalton McGuinty. It was said to be Sousa’s seat they saved by moving the power plant, and it’s rumoured Wynne had some part in the Ornge scandal. That party needs to have a clear break with McGuinty and all the scandals. It’s bad enough there’s disgruntled teachers, and a $10 billion deficit to deal with.
Hoskins was there too but served in a junior cabinet position, as Ontario’s Minister of Child and Youth services. He’s quietly set himself apart from the rest by pointing out an issue the rest aren’t focusing on: Youth unemployment. His stats peg the rate at 17%, well above the provincial unemployment rate of 8%. I haven’t heard anyone else even touching this issue; and realistically it’s a growing problem.
Kennedy will make his presence known as he has been involved in leadership races before. It’s too easy for the opposition parties to relate Kennedy, Wynne, Pupatello, and Sousa to McGuinty, and the scandals that have been popping up. Kennedy probably be in it for a few ballots, but drop off; his position as king-maker cemented along with a potential cabinet position.
It’s going to be an interesting weekend.