It’s an odd strategy, asking people to vote for you because you can’t win. That’s exactly what Kathleen Wynne was doing on Saturday morning when she conceded that she won’t be premier after Thursday’s vote.
“I don’t know who voters will choose but I am pretty sure that it won’t be me,” Wynne said at stop in Toronto. After acknowledging that she won’t be premier, Wynne tried to put a positive spin on things.
“And I’m okay with that, because, as I’ve said many times before, it’s not about me. It’s about the people of this province.”
Wynne sounded choked up at times as she made the announcement, holding back tears it seemed.
Contrast to Ford.
I watched the event on the phone of a colleague, a gaggle of media huddled around watching Wynne in Toronto while we waited for Doug Ford to begin an event in Ottawa. The contrast was stark.
While Wynne called for voters to back local Liberals so that a Ford government would be put on a short leash, Ford spoke of being ready to govern.
“We’ve got a great team,” Ford said flanked by existing MPPs Lisa MacLeod and Steve Clark. Sitting immediately beside Ford, the travelling duo of Christine Elliott and Caroline Mulroney.
— Kathleen Wynne (@Kathleen_Wynne) June 2, 2018
Ford’s team vs. Wynne’s solo flight.
With her message, Kathleen Wynne wants to plant the seed of doubt about Ford and his team.
“With a majority government, Doug Ford would have too free a hand for the comfort of most people,” Wynne said before rattling off a series of policies real and imagined, where she disagrees with Ford.
Lest you think this was all about attacking the PC’s, it wasn’t. Knowing that plenty of Liberal seats are being lost to the socialists, Wynne took aim at Andrea Hrowath’s party, warning that an NDP government would ruin the economy.
“People worry that the NDP will raise taxes on small businesses, that they will take unemployment higher,” Wynne warned about the New Democrats.
I’ve never seen this happen in all my time covering politics, a politician, a leader, conceding that all was lost. A friend tells me that Joe Clark used a similar tactic in the 2000 federal election when he was PC leader.
I don’t quite remember that but I didn’t pay much attention to Joe Clark in that election and neither did voters. He also wasn’t a premier or prime minister.
This move by Wynne is stunning.
Her party could be reduced to just a few seats, some people I’ve spoken with say it could be 2-4 seats. To keep official party status the Liberals need 8 seats.
Without that status the party would be nearly invisible in the legislature. The Liberals would also lose significant funding and have a hard time raising money from donors.
Wynne’s move is about trying to salvage a few seats and some status for her party.
In the end it may help one of the other parties, namely the NDP.