Straight Talk
CHRISTINA BLIZZARD - None of the Liberal leader hopefuls are worthy of being premier

Credits: QMI AGENCY

CHRISTINA BLIZZARD | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO - While other newspapers are ponderously weighing in on who of the six Liberal leadership candidates they endorse, you have to wonder why.

I've spent the past three weeks interviewing all the contenders - including Glen Murray, who dropped out. They're all fine people.

Not that I carry much weight with Liberal delegates, but would I endorse any of these candidates to be the next premier?

I say not one of them should be leader.

The Liberal Party has deliberately kept this campaign under the radar.

There was no discussion of the issues.

Did any one of them raise questions about the cancellation of the two gas plants - one of which was almost complete and the move was announced in the middle of the last election?

Did you hear any searching questions about the Ornge air ambulance scandal?

e-Health?

No and fat chance.

We saw a lot of hand-wringing over the need to balance the budget, but we saw no finger-pointing about who got us into the mess in the first place.

This was all contrived.

They don't want bad blood. These are good little Liberal soldiers. They know whoever wins will have to turn the ship around quickly for an election that's expected sooner rather than later.

Liberals kept repeating the mantra that they want to "work with the other parties," to "avoid an election no one wants."

That, translated, means the two other parties are polling very strongly, Liberals are not. So they don't want an election until they see what kind of bump they'll get in the polls from their new leader.

Those are reasons why, unlike my weighty colleagues, I'm unable to endorse anyone to be the next premier.

Here's why:

Sandra Pupatello: While distancing herself from Premier Dalton McGuinty and his decisions because she didn't run in the 2011 election, she nevertheless was a major force at the cabinet table.

The auto bailout came about largely because she and fellow Windsor MPP - and Finance Minister - Dwight Duncan pushed for it.

As economic development minister, she bad-mouthed the federal government in the United Arab Emirates, over a spat between Canada and the UAE on landing rights for their two airlines.

It was an appalling faux-pas. Slam your own government at home, but never abroad. Especially not in a sensitive area of the world.

Kathleen Wynne: She's been a competent cabinet minister, but is generally considered on the left of the party. She distanced herself from McGuinty's harsh stand on teachers early on, leaving fears she won't be able to stand up to public sector unions and will cave to their demands.

Gerard Kennedy: Where to start? Is it his support for Stephane Dion in the federal leadership that sends cold chills of fear down your spine? Or the fact he was education minister at a time when teachers were getting hefty pay hikes? You pick.

Harinder Takhar: The Integrity Commissioner ruled he was "egregiously reckless" in the way he did not keep his company at arm's length when he was appointed to cabinet and ruled he'd breached the Integrity Act.

Takhar waited until the last minute to throw his hat in the leadership ring - so kept his cabinet salary and limo to the last minute when others surrendered their perks. Enough said.

Charles Sousa: Billion-dollar guy. The person who lobbied hardest against the gas plant.

Eric Hoskins: Impressive guy and one who's walked the walk when it comes to putting his life on the line for human rights. Probably has too much integrity to be new Liberal leader.

 

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