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The Establishment Fights Back
15/12/2003

William Thorsell is the former editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail. Since leaving to become CEO of the Royal Ontario Museum, he has continued to write occasional opinion pieces for the paper (some of which I remember as rather annoying in their hawkish neo-conservatism).

In today's Globe and Mail he had the hints of an answer to a question that has been in my head for a while: Are they even going to try to find a strong candidate to lead the united right? Thorsell writes:

A modest proposal: If Stephen Harper wants to be on the government side of the House of Commons some day, he should make a bold and surprising decision. Mr. Harper should announce that his candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada is John Tory, and that Mr. Harper himself is working full out to draft and elect him.

The rest of the article goes on in a manner so earnest that we can clearly see Thorsell's conviction that this is the route to saving the new Conservatives. He bluntly pleads for Reform-Alliance flag-bearer Harper to step down in favour of Central Canada scion Tory. Really, if I was a Tory supporter, I'd almost be embarrased by this column.

With all the talk of the new Conservatives being nothing more than Reform III, the business establishment may be waking up to the challenge. (Although, I imagine they have little reason to complain about Paul Martin.) It is interesting to see the sort of company that Thorsell keeps these days.

I wonder who Thorsell discussed this column with before he submitted it? As Globe editor-in-chief since 1989 and ROM CEO since 2000, I would be very surprised if he doesn't know John Tory at least casually. It is inevitable that their paths have crossed in both the business and philanthropic worlds.

(I'll leave a discussion of John Tory's chances to another time, or another writer. But note this: Tory has now been upgraded to "bilingual" status.)

HAT-TIP: The Middleman, for the first use I saw of "Reform III" as a name for the new Conservatives.


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