The Hon. William G. Davis continues to haunt Ontario’s contemporary Progressive Conservatives with his political spectre slapping their wool-stuffed heads, something he’ll find amusing (or sad), snug in the vales of Brampton. The party’s young warrior class of the Common Sense Revolution who attempted to soil his name and drive all who had worked with him from the precincts of Queen’s Park in 1985 failed then — Mr. Davis, Ontario Conservative premier from 1971 to 1985 and a Red Tory, was canonized by the public in the bloom of mortal health faster than John Paul II could say Divinis Perfectionis Magister — and have learned nothing in the intervening 26 years. They could at least read Monday’s editorial in The Globe and Mail.
The Globe, making clear it was looking for a Bill Davis government to endorse and couldn’t find it, poured holy oil on Liberal Dalton McGuinty. Mr. McGuinty can do fuzzy, bland, big-tent politics maybe not as well as Mr. D but with the same dance steps. Tim Hudak? You could see The Globe’s editorialists making a moue. They found him, if you can believe this, “too dogmatic about smaller government,” code language for “Something here smells.”
So we will take our crystal ball out on a limb and declare an electoral victory for Mr. McGuinty on Thursday because the emotion he ignites in the province’s voters — optimism, hope — is stronger alchemy than the wand-waving in which Conservative leader Hudak has engaged: Culture war. Culture war is not smart. Culture war does not get voters to the polls. Mr. Hudak’s predecessor John Tory tried culture war with a promise to give public funding to all religious schools and almost destroyed the party. Continue reading