Ontario election: Step on to the Million Jobs express

ABOVE: Liberal spies, open skies, and plenty of skateboarding – Global’s Alan Carter takes us behind the scenes of the Tim Hudak campaign

Regardless of what you think of the Progressive Conservative platform, you certainly can’t accuse Tim Hudak of having a hidden agenda.

For right or wrong, for better or worse, Hudak has decided to put all his chips on blue and let the electoral roulette wheel spin.

There are many within the PC party who cringed when Hudak made his announcement of cutting 100,000 civil servants. Why say the number they asked? Why not stick to the usual line of ‘reducing the size and cost of government’?  It’s so much less scary.

A senior volunteer in Hudak’s own riding association told me he considered the move a misstep.

It serves as a rallying cry for his opponents, especially the Liberals who will no doubt appeal to NDP voters to switch to Grit in order to stop Hudak.

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On the campaign trail, Hudak attempted to turn this into a positive. He’s not just going to tell you what you want to hear, he said.

In Depth: Ontario Election 2014

He’s not running in a popularity contest, desperate for your love like the other two leaders.

The PC strategy is to come out of the gate early with big news and big shocks – bigger class sizes, no tuition grants, a huge reduction in spending.

As the weeks wear on in this long campaign, the Tory hope is the voting public will see Hudak’s strategy as less extreme, and more of a necessary evil. The Tories hope voters are tired of the Liberal’s promises and wary of the NDP.

On the election trail, Hudak keeps his public appearance schedule light.   Sure there will be moments of kissing babies, but handlers want him to appear serious and focused (“laser-like” as he’s fond of saying).

What’s a fidgety journalist to do when there is no leader to follow around and pelt questions at?

This week I take my longboard to Ottawa to ask people there what they think of the Hudak plan.

Step on and let’s ride this campaign together.


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