Death by One Hundred Thousand Cuts

In my last post I criticized Tim Hudak’s campaign over some early gaffes, and called them amateurs. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for that to amateurs everywhere.  Since we’ve seen how they do on a subway, I hope Hudak has an event at one of Ontario’s craft beer producers next. I suspect his team couldn’t organize a piss up in a brewery, and I’d like to see if I’m right.

When I first criticized his campaign their biggest blunder was a photo op for him at a company supported by a government program Tim is very much against. Which they did twice.  Early days of the campaign right? His key messages will go better right? Apparently not.

Tim followed up with the announcement he would fire 100,000 public sector workers. Announcing you will fire the equivalent of the city of Waterloo will get people’s attention. I doubt much of it was what he had in mind. If you talk about a million jobs plan, but the first thing people hear about it is you’ll fire 100,000 you can expect to have your math questioned.

I’m not going to debate the announcement as a policy. Contrary to what Hudak likes to say Ontario is running one of the leanest governments in the country. I get it though, his base thinks all government workers are lazy and overpaid. That Tim himself has been a government worker for almost twenty years is apparently not relevant.

Moving on to the million jobs plan itself. One of the first details Tim let slip was that half of the million jobs would be created anyway simply by staying the course the Liberals have set. I will honestly say I didn’t think endorsing the Liberals as job creators was going to be part of Tim’s campaign. To quote famed sportscaster Pepper Brooks, it’s a bold strategy.

Then earlier today Tim released more details of his platform. It included cuts to education workers, increased class sizes, cuts to tuition credits for post secondary students, and cuts to tax credits for seniors. It is a good thing dogs don’t vote or part of his plan surely would have included cuts to belly rubs. With several weeks left I guess I shouldn’t count out Tim’s ability to alienate another group.

Polling numbers came out today for the first time since Tim tried selling the idea 100,000 people out of work is good for the economy. You can probably guess what those numbers look like. Nearly two thirds don’t support the idea of firing twice the population of Belleville. While 63% are doubtful about his ability to create a million jobs. As a party the PCs have lost their lead to the Liberals, and in terms of personal popularity Hudak sits third in a three person race.

In an effort to come across as serious, authoritative, and willing to make the tough choices Hudak has often talked about both his plan and himself not being popular. He seems to be right, but I’m not sure he’s grasped the concept you still have be popular enough to get elected.

A few journalists said today Hudak is defining the agenda in this campaign. I’d agree he is and I think that is exactly what will cost him this election. The PC strategy could have focused on the Liberals and positioned themselves as a change Ontario needs. With polls showing 72% of voters think a new party should form government, this strategy was not only an obvious one but very likely a winning one.

Instead expect the rest of the campaign to be a referendum on Hudak and his cuts. Between public sector workers, parents, seniors and students every cut he promises seems to be directed at a different group of voters. Each cut bleeds support from the PCs, and in an already tight election we will see if Tim can stop the life from bleeding out of his campaign. If he doesn’t the only job Tim Hudak costs Ontario may well be his own.





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