Tories wrap policy convention, Hudak keeps job
Last day of London, Ont., convention sees delegates talk policy behind closed doors
Ontario's Progressive Conservatives have some things to think about ahead of the next provincial election, after a weekend policy convention saw hundreds of party delegates give feedback on the ideas that could be pitched to voters.
During the final day of the convention held in London, Ont., delegates were discussing policy behind closed doors.
But some participants said delegates had given a thumbs-up to cutting income taxes and to allowing the sale of beer and wine in corner stores.
Tim Hudak, the PC leader, also faced questions at the convention about the party’s image and how it squares with voters in Ontario.
“Right now, our image is heartless, business-oriented, money first, not caring enough about people,” said one Toronto-area delegate who asked Hudak how he would reshape the party’s image.
Hudak pointed to policies the Tories have developed with the aim of helping vulnerable Ontarians.
And he said the party wants to cut down the provincial deficit, so that it can make funds available to help people in the province.
"My opponents will talk about compassion, but they rob us of the ability to be compassionate in the first place," Hudak told the crowd.
No leadership review
Delegates also quashed a motion that could have triggered a leadership review process.
Some party members had been seeking to amend the party’s constitution to allow a leadership challenge to be called at any time in order to put Hudak's stewardship under review.
But delegates voted down that motion and Hudak will keep his job.
However, the convention highlighted some of the concerns from within the party about the challenges that Hudak and the Tories face in getting enough support at the polls to win a general election.
At present, the Progressive Conservatives hold 37 seats in the 107-seat Ontario legislature.
That places them behind the governing Liberals (50 seats), but ahead of the third-party New Democrats (20 seats).
Tony Miele, the chairman of the PC Ontario Fund, said the party has slashed its debt from the 2011 provincial election and is in better shape for a campaign, which could be called at any time.
With files from The Canadian Press and the CBC's Genevieve Tomney