David Orazietti No To Leadership Bid - Wise DecisionSaturday, October 27, 2012 by: Mac Headrick
Yesterday David Orazietti announced he would not seek the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party. To say this was a wise decision could qualify as the political understatement of the year. In today’s column l will offer up my opinion on the logic and good sense of Mr. Orazietti’s choice to remain out of the leadership fray.
The location and timing of David Orazietti’s announcement is a perfect example of the intelligence behind this decision to opt out of the race. The location was the official opening of the French-language Catholic school Ecole Notre-Dame-du-Sault. David Orazietti’s strength as a politician has always been his success at representing Sault Ste Marie. His presence on the provincial stage has been very limited. Considering the present state of the provincial Liberal Party, this is a good thing for Orazietti. I have stated in the past for David to lose his seat locally he would have to officially announce he is against motherhood, ice cream and he dislikes babies. He would still be the favoured.
David did state his decision was based on family considerations. Every politician who decides not to run for a position or leave politics altogether uses this excuse. I do not dismiss the rationale behind it. I imagine all political families pay a price for their member deciding to participate in the political arena. The personal aspect of not seeking the leadership is valid but only as a part of the ultimate decision.
There are not many Liberal representatives in northern Ontario. Wouldn’t it have been intriguing if one of them tossed their hat into the leadership ring? The answer is no. It is true there is some alienation in northern Ontario towards the provincial government. The reason it doesn’t help to have a Liberal run from the north is this “alienation” exists in a large part because of government decisions made in the last decade. What would Orazietti or any other Liberal hopeful do in the leadership race relative to northern Ontario? Could you see any aspiring Liberal leader critiquing past decisions and/or promising to repeal them? Northern Ontario concerns will be irrelevant in this leadership race.
We have all heard the expression the “rats are deserting the ship”. Perhaps to some Ontarians this is an apt expression. You have to wonder how many more prominent Liberal politicians are not going to seek the leadership. It was not a surprise that Energy Minister Chris Bentley not only announced he wouldn’t seek the leadership but was leaving politics altogether. The Finance Minister Dwight Duncan is finished.
David Orazietti is not the right gender to seek the Liberal leadership. This time around it is imperative that you be female. Perhaps someone reading this column might think l am joking in regards to the above statement, but no, l am serious. Andrea Horwath, the leader of the NDP, is an astute, popular politician. There appears to be more females than males interested in the Liberal Party leadership race. Politicians exist for two main reasons… get elected and then re-elected. I mentioned above that Dwight Duncan is stepping aside. This action clears the way for former Liberal member Sandra Pupatello to return to Ontario politics.
By the leadership convention, Pupatello would have been absent from the Liberal government for two years. Her strength as a leader will be that she had no connection to the sins of the McGuinty era. She is the embodiment of the new revived Liberal Party. Of course, the critical question in the spring election will be… is the Ontario electorate actually going to believe the above and forget about the present Liberal Party’s legacy?
It is far too early to say what will happen. Please keep in mind the provincial Conservative Party handed McGuinty two majority governments, and almost a third. Tim Hudak is the Liberal Party’s best hope. The NDP by this time will have to clarify their vision for Ontario and how it is different form the other parties. By February the “new” Liberal leader may have made peace with the public sector unions. Past experience has shown union members switch political allegiance in a heart beat. Regardless the bottom line, is David Orazietti well placed at this time to just avoid the debacle in Toronto?
In the past l have stated David Orazietti deserved a shot at a cabinet position. His failure to achieve this was in my opinion not because of a lack of intelligence or ability. He was just not a part of the “inner” circle. Little did l know what an advantage this reality would eventually become!
As l see it, for the next four months David Orazietti’s priority will solely be to connect with his constituents. This is where his strength as a politician exists.