Friday, April 20, 2007

An Up Hillier Battle

The nomination race for the Ontario Progressive Conservatives in Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (LFLA) promises to be interesting, pitching two more experienced political operatives against the colourful ex-leader of the Lanark Landowners Association, Randy Hillier.

Mr. Hillier is wildly popular in some quarters in rural Eastern Ontario, where his confrontational style and media-baiting antics have made him a hero. Certainly under his leadership the LLA and the Ontario Landowners Association have made some progress in standing up for rural property rights.

However, the nature and extremity of Mr. Hillier's tactics are not for everyone. There are quiet voices of moderation here too, although as is the case with most causes, it's the louder voice that gets heard the most.

The new riding is likely to vote Conservative in October 2007, meaning the selected candidate will likely be an MPP. Looking forward, what kind of MPP might Randy Hillier make? Is he capable of learning the different standards of behaviour and the different tactics that provincial politics requires? There's no issue that (if nominated) he will likely win his seat; the question is how many seats in the 905 the PCs might lose as a result.

McShifty's Liberals are already salivating even before the nomination:
"John Tory is really good at saying one thing in urban Ontario and singing a different tune to rural Ontarians," stated Smitherman. "The Conservatives are the party of Walkerton and the party of environmental cuts and neglect. Under John Tory the Conservatives repeatedly refuse to take a firm stand on our environment. Instead they're racing backwards with Randy Hillier, a poster boy for those who oppose a cleaner greener future for Ontario."

In what's shaping up to be a tight election in October, would Mr. Hillier be an effective Tory politician, or would he be a Grant Hill or Cheryl Gallant? We can only watch and hope as the nomination process unfolds...

Also see Mike's coverage of this nomination race here.