In Toronto, Kathleen Wynne stood alone and conceded she wouldn’t win the election. In Ottawa, Doug Ford sat at a table surrounded by Progressive Conservative candidates.
“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.
Around him were a bevy of candidates from across Eastern Ontario.
While Wynne stood alone, Ford was surrounded by his team.
Ford team showcased.
“We’re ready to govern, we’re going to hit the ground running,” Ford said. It was a message delivered not only with his words but one he was trying to amplify with visuals.
There are two reasons Ford is showcasing his team. One reason is him and how voters respond to him, the other is to contrast with the NDP.
The PCs know that while there are lots of people that love Ford, others are wary. They aren’t sure about him. To capture government those are the voters the party needs to bring into the fold.
Thus Elliott and Mulroney at his side.
It’s also why Ford handed over a local question about the PC’s chances in Ottawa to veteran MPP Lisa MacLeod who lauded the credentials of her fellow candidates.
If Ford can soften his image by showcasing his team, especially the women on the team, then he stands a better chance of winning over voters wary of him but sick of Wynne and scared of the NDP.
Ford’s team vs. Horwath’s team.
And speaking of the NDP, the second message is, Ford wants voters to compare and contrast his team to the NDP.
There are solid and good people in the NDP caucus. Folks like Gilles Bisson from Timmins-James Bay come to mind. As do Peter Tabuns from Toronto-Danforth and France Gingras from Nickel Belt.
But for every competent and hard working MPP that Horwath could call on to form cabinet, there are the radicals.
Ford wants you to think of them at each and every turn.
In fact, before taking questions he called out many such candidates. People like Joel Harden in Ottawa-Centre who wants a $150 a tonne carbon tax that would boost gas prices by 35 cents a litre. He pointed to Tasleem Riaz in Scarborough who posted the Hitler meme to Facebook and called Canada’s soldiers war criminals.
While Wynne wants to scare voters over the idea of either the NDP or PCs getting a majority government, Ford wants to scare voters over the idea of NDP radicals getting near power.
Expect to see Ford showcase his team and the softer side of the party from now until Thursday.