By Dave Hodson | May 23, 2009
иконописсвети атанасMy last post on the PC Leadership Race was nearly a month ago, and since then I have been doing a lot of reading and video watching about the candidates. I was undecided then, although I favoured Randy Hillier, and while I remain undecided now, I am closer to a decision.
While things can still change before the vote, I can safely cross Tim Hudak off my list, and so I will rank him fourth on my ballot. Throughout the campaign, something about Tim just hasn’t connected with me. He seems to have lots of energy and ideas, but there is something about his presence and image that I don’t like. In a strange way, the man reminds me of Dalton McGuinty!
As for Tim’s policy ideas; they just don’t work for me. For example, he seems to be very much about ‘tinkering’ with policies to actively manage the economy. He has promoted too many temporary measures, such as the temporary suspension of payroll taxes, the temporary suspension of the land transfer tax, and a temporary rebate to trade in old vehicles (this last idea I don’t like whether temporary or permanent). This just does not sound like someone who can keep his hands off and let the free market run the economy. I would like to see some permanent improvements to our tax rules and various nanny-state regulations to give both businesses and individuals a stable business environment and increased freedom to operate.
What I am looking for in a leader is actually a combination of Frank Klees and Randy Hillier. That may sound odd, considering they are very different candidates. Of all the candidates, I like the presence and speaking ability of Frank. While he can come across as a bit of a car salesman, I like his style and his communication abilities. If you put aside policy for the moment, I think Frank is the type of personality who could be very convincing and effective in an election campaign and very statesmanlike as a Premier. As for Randy Hillier’s image, I’m not sure if he’ll come across well in a general election campaign? Perhaps he will, but I have some concerns.
For policy ideas, my favourite is still Randy Hillier. I won’t rehash them all here, but Randy’s ideas are very straightforward and centre around providing more freedom to Ontarians. After a nanny-state Premier like Dalton McGuinty, too many things have been banned, and that needs to be changed.
Frank Klees has left me with the feeling on more than one occasion that he’s not the best choice if I’m looking for someone to cut government spending and government intrusion in our lives. However, he has been getting better on his tax ideas. Frank Klees has since indicated he would like to cut business taxes, and if McGuinty moves forward with harmonizing the RST with the GST, he proposes to reduce the HST. My preference is to not harmonize the taxes in the first place, but it seems that McGuinty will do that before the next election, and our next Premier will need to deal with that reality. Reducing the HST may negate the tax increase from the merger and be less disruptive to a stable business environment than trying to de-harmonize the taxes after they have been merged.
I still have concerns about where Frank stands on issues of personal freedom and the ever-increasing size of government. However, there is one particular part of Frank’s position that I like very much. The quote below is on the front of Frank’s website.
Every Progressive Conservative member should have an opportunity to contribute to our platform through the Policy Advisory Council, a process that was the cornerstone of the Common Sense Revolution in 1995 and is now part of our constitution.
It should not be the party leader who determines policy; it should be the members. Regardless of who is selected as leader, we cannot assume that the policy positions candidates have personally promoted now will actually form part of an election platform. On an ongoing basis, the party members should have a say in the policy positions of the party. Choosing a leader and choosing policy should be separate decisions. If Frank is sincere in his position to allow the membership to form party policy, then that goes a long way with me. The bigger question is how much input would he let us have?
What I’d like to see is Frank Klees with the policy positions of Randy Hillier or Hillier with the communication abilities of Klees. I’m not sure that we’re going to get either of those, and so I remain undecided.
There is one thing of which I am certain; all four candidates would be an improvement over our last leader!Print This Post