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Thursday, June 25, 2009

PC Leadership Race: How I voted

With today as the last day of voting in the PC Ontario leadership race, I thought I would share with my readers how I voted and why I voted that way (I voted on Sunday). The ballot is a preferential ballot and so I was faced with the question of not only who I want to win, but who my second, third, and last choice would be.

1. Randy Hillier
2. Christine Elliott
3. Tim Hudak
4. Frank Klees

Randy Hillier:

First choice was the easiest choice I had to make on this ballot. Randy Hillier doesn’t just call himself a libertarian, he talks and acts like a libertarian. With a background in fighting for property rights and the best list of policies I’ve ever seen in Canada, I am proud to say that I voted for him. Many complain that he is rough around the edges, but he deserves my support for staying true to his ideals throughout this campaign. It should be noted that this supposed ‘rural anarchist’ has the best Toronto oriented policy seen in this race.

Christine Elliott:

At first glance you might think that this is an odd second choice for a radical such as myself. She has been touted throughout the election as the moderate candidate. I would rejoice if the flat tax was hailed as a moderate position, but the truth is far more complicated. Everything I know about Christine Elliott from before the leadership race says that she is a fiscal conservative, and nothing has happened to really dispute that. She is the lightest on policy but it is important to note that none of her policies are truly bad or objectionable. Indeed the centre pieces of her campaign is a grassroots policy process (which is often associated with the more ‘conservative wing’) and a flat tax. She has been called moderate for preaching ‘compassionate conservatism.’ At the same time when talking about her policy for increasing tax credits for charities, she said “This measure would strengthen the volunteer organizations and community groups who do the things that are very challenging for governments to accomplish. At the heart of our communities are men and women devoted to helping one another through a variety of charitable organizations,” If this isn’t music to a fiscal conservative’s ear, I don’t know what is.

Tim Hudak:

Those of you who are familiar with my postings may have detected a certain amount of hostility towards Tim Hudak. This would be a fair observation but I think this hostility was deserved. I have long been a fan of Mr. Hudak’s and I have become bitterly disappointed. It is not just my annoyance at his rhetoric; I find many of his policies to be offensive. The idea that I could have my possessions taken away for a mere suspicion of a crime is abhorrent to me. Anyone, no matter how virtuous or base, can be suspected of a crime. His defenders have basically said that such a policy will only be used against the ‘bad guys.’ I am uncomfortable with the state defining someone as a ‘bad guy’ with no due process.

Another objection I have is his long list of tax credits that amount to demand side corporate welfare. He has preached against corporate welfare so much that you can almost call him a hypocrite. He believes that consumers should pick winners but that the state can encourage them to pick the ones that the state wants. Perhaps hypocrite is too strong, better to say that he is inconsistent in his faith in the free market.

So why third place and not fourth? Partly it is because of who the remaining candidate is, but I will get to that in a moment. Tim Hudak does have several saving graces. His attack on the Human Rights Tribunal has been criticized as a ploy to win Hillier supporters, but I believe it to be sincere. His good policies may not outweigh his bad, but he does have policies that I hope will not disappear from the marketplace of ideas.

Frank Klees:

I think that the best way to describe Frank Klees is as a big government conservative. He may talk about the value of the free market and individual choice, but he doesn’t really believe it. He has been the most consistent member of the PC caucus for the support of policies that regulate the day to day lives of individuals. I have heard him talk about the role of government in ways that make me shudder. If it is the smoking bans, youth driver laws, and other such policies that anger you about the McGuinty Liberals; Frank Klees should not get your vote in this leadership race.

I grant that not much of this has come out in this race. My opinion of Mr. Klees is not based on what I have seen in the last few months, it has been formed over the course of years of observation. But if you do want something more, consider his ‘Ministry of long term planning.’ What does it say about the leader’s faith in individuals when he expects the government to be able to plan for the long term? It says that he views government as society’s leader, not as the protector of law and order.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on June 25, 2009 | Permalink


I really think this is a better form of voting.

Posted by: Pete | 2009-06-25 9:20:14 AM

Randy Hillier doesn’t just call himself a libertarian, he talks and acts like a libertarian.
Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on June 25, 2009

Then why is he running for the Ontario PC party and not the Ontario Libertarian Party? Maybe he assumes he might have a chance of winning as a PC and no chance as a libertarian.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-06-25 2:44:08 PM

H Mac!

Two thing:

1) Tim's policy on asset seizure is only for CONVICTED criminals, and does not include those suspected of crimes. I was concerned about this as well, so I asked him about it personally, and I got his 100% personal assurance that this policy was ONLY for convicted felons, and only for assets acquired by the illegal activities they were prosecuted for.

2) Christine's flat tax DRAMATICALLY misses the point of a flat tax. A flat tax is supposed to eliminate revenue bureaucracy. This is one of the key principles advocated by the Fraser Institute. Christine's flat tax on the other hand would KEEP all current tax credits, deductions, and exemption, thereby completely missing the point. Yes, it's a tax cut, and that's awesome,but if you're going to try to campaign on something people like you and I believe in so passionately, at least do it right.

Catch you soon, champ.

PS: Randy Hillier is awesome.

Posted by: Justin Samlal | 2009-06-25 10:43:02 PM

Nice analysis. It's always good to see the rationale behind choices. For sure Elliott is a strange second choice given your first ballot but I see where you're coming from.

Posted by: Kirk West | 2009-06-26 9:24:55 AM

J Sam,

If that is his policy then why does his website and everything he released about it say something different? Actually if that is his policy then why is it different than what we do now? Maybe I'll make a point of asking him next time I go to one of his events, but until then I have to go on the bases of his press release.

I agree that Elliott's flat tax could be much cooler and get rid of all this tax credit stuff. But policy is going to be perfect (unless it comes from Hillier). She is offering the largest tax cut and a postive structural change to the tax system.

Besides if tax credits were that big of a deal to you then why support Tim Hudak?

Posted by: hughmacintyre | 2009-06-26 9:39:29 AM

I don't think I've met a singe person in Ontario who had Randy #1 and Christine #2.

Posted by: Charlie knows best | 2009-06-26 12:03:11 PM

I actually know of a few. I think it is the best way for a fiscal conservative to have voted.

Posted by: hughmacintyre | 2009-06-26 12:07:44 PM

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