Soon-to-be-former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak arguably lost last week’s provincial election because of his promise to cut 100,000 public-sector jobs, a scary proclamation that even some party loyalists admit wasn’t sold to the public particularly skillfully. At best, Hudak’s rhetoric was brutally truthful, and now, as intra-party discord begins to leak into the press, we know that it narrowly avoided entering just-plain-brutal territory.
According to the Star, the Tories’ campaign strategists considered and rejected the idea of actually naming some of the public employees that would have been fired under the PC plan. Hudak would have handed out mock “pink slips.” The Star says the campaign even considered holding a press conference in a room wallpapered with the names of Ontario Power Generation employees who earn more than $100,000—some of whom, presumably, would have had their jobs eliminated. To recap: members of Hudak’s inner circle thought that the way to win the election was to incite even more uproar over the single most controversial aspect of their platform, a move that probably would have intensified support among their base while further alienating everyone else. This, evidently, is how elections are lost.