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Taking Tim Hudak’s Call

June 23rd, 2009

I received a call this afternoon from Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Tim Hudak, ostensibly to thank me for endorsing him in my post last Saturday.  I have been hearing that Hudak is an easy to like kind of guy, and it couldn’t be more true.  I have never seen him in action, but based on one phone call I have no doubt he’s a guy who knows the politicians art of working a room.

my-shoe-phoneThe conversation moved quickly and smoothly, ranging from what kind of dog I had (she was being noisy), to my thoughts on the future of the auto industry, human rights commissions, the past and future of the Ontario PC party and my local PC MPP, Gerry Martiniuk, whom is a Tim Hudak supporter. The conversation involved me desperately trying to scribble the odd note, scribble being the operative word.  Here’s a brief recall of the conversation.

Hudak seems to consider the HRCs a big issue, and he had examples at hand of the abuse of the system, including an Ontario town (I can’t recall which one) that has had a eight HRC complaints against them by one citizen, one of his complaints being there isn’t a sidewalk in front of his house (next year he’ll complain he has to shovel the snow on his new sidewalk).

On blogs, Hudak pointed out that the press gallery is shrinking dramatically at Queen’s Park. The net result being there are not enough reporters covering the government and are thus less able to hold their feet to the fire. It’s the blogs that are picking up the slack, and as such, the blogs are becoming more important.

As for the race for leader, he and I both agreed it was a good race, that saw some ideas emerge from all candidates. It was a healthy process, and Hudak is confident he can win. On the vote itself, he said they had scrutineers in every riding on Sunday, they felt the vote was going well, and about 3o% of party members voted Sunday. The rest will have the opportunity to vote Thursday, the results, of course, will be announced Saturday.

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get in some question I had prepared, such as inquiring about his four steps to solve the doctor shortage. His ideas are: expanding capacity at medical schools, flexible retirement for physicians, recognize foreign credentials and increase incentives for Canadians studying abroad to return to Canada to practice. However, I feel a big part of the problem is David Peterson/Bob Rae’s old ban on extra billing, and was curious if he’d given any though to rescinding that.

e-health Ontario is another area I would have liked to quiz him, as well as: Caledonia; his favourite Led Zeppelin song (that says a lot about the man); Mike Harris: help or hindrance?; flat tax; the $1,000 newborn baby fund; the HST; who runs PerezHudak.com, and will any known rap artists be smacking him around in the near future?; his solutions for the manufacturing crisis.

While I didn’t get to ask him all that, I did get to tell my son he had been talking to the man who could be the next Premier of Ontario, I had a good excuse for not getting the vacuuming done, and I had a pleasant conversation with a genuinely nice man. I believe he would be an excellent leader, and like Joanne before me, “my interest in Ontario politics has gone from mope to hope and excitement.” And yes, I too am starting to think the PC party might have a chance.

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