Friday, March 6, 2009

Tory to Step Down as Ontario Tory Leader

John Tory today announced he will step down as the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party (a.k.a. the Tories) after failing to gain a seat in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

What often happens when the leader of a political party in Canada fails to win a seat in the provincial legislature or the House of Commons another member of the party caucus will give up their seat so the leader can attempt to gain entry through a by-election. A perfect example of this was when Tommy Douglas, during his first race as leader of Canada's NDP in 1962, failed to gain a seat in his home province of Saskatchewan. A fellow MP Ernie Reiger from Nanaimo, British Columbia gave up his seat so Douglas could run and the people of Nanaimo elected Douglas where he would remain for more than fifteen years.

In the 2007 provincial election, Tory failed to gain a seat in a Toronto suburb but remained as party leader from outside the legislature. (Never again will a conservative Canadian politician utter the phrase "faith based education.") Nearly two years later Laurie Scott, a Tory MPP, agreed to give up her seat so Tory could try to gain entry into the legislature. Scott won the seat by 10,000 votes in 2007. However, Tory wasn't so lucky. Seen as a carpet bagger from Toronto, Tory lost by nearly a 1,000 votes to Liberal Rick Johnson. Despite the fact Dalton McGuinty's Liberal government has a deficit of nearly $10 billion for Ontario voters they are the best show in town. The Tories under Tory were in disarray and the NDP will be choosing a new leader this weekend to succeed Howard Hampton who has been at the helm since June 1996.

Tory will remain as leader until the Progressive Conservative caucus chooses an interim leader.

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