A surprisingly different Liberal Leader
On March 6th I joined over 2000 delegates from the Liberal Party of Ontario at a convention in Mississauga to vote for the new party leader. A majority of party members chose long-time insider Steven Del Ducca to be the next Leader.
Frankly, I would have preferred a more intellectual leader with some new policy ideas unheard of in Ontario or Liberal politics, and I voted accordingly. It could also be a cause for cynicism that in a party with six candidates of various ethnic backgrounds and genders, the only white male candidate won as usual.
However, the party should be credited for awarding its leadership to someone who had been a party member for 30 years in a variety of roles, as this kind of loyalty is rare in party leaders. One of the curses of Canadian and Ontarian politics is that political parties are often controlled by spoiled Leaders who did not have to persist with the humility of rank-and-file party organizing before winning the highest party organizing roles. That is why many political parties have achieved a reputation for burning their own core supporters, like when the celebrity-styled federal Liberal leader stigmatized two of his own Liberal star recruits for openly defying him on matters of prosecutorial independence. Leaders who do not understand the reality for party members at large seeking change will tend to be insular and inaccessible in disagreements with them.
Steven Del Ducca ran a graceful campaign to become Leader of the Liberal Party of Ontario, and clearly knows how to make friends inside a political party. (Already I have obtained his personal party email address, which he freely volunteered to Liberal members in a virtual town hall.) If the Liberal Party brings itself from third-party status to governing party status in the 2022 election under the leadership of a not-so-charismatic personality, that will be a clear sign that members of other parties ought to look inward and see how difficult and therefore typical their own leaders may be.