Here’s why I’m placing my bets
If we had the sort of elaborate betting infrastructure the punters in England and Las Vegas enjoy, I’d put a few hundred on Kathleen Wynne emerging victorious in the next Ontario election. Yes, I’m serious, because what an immense payout you’d get from such a contrarian bet.
Sure, it goes against conventional wisdom. After all, she hit 12% in the polls recently. They say Donald Trump is against the ropes, yet he clocks in at three times Wynne’s numbers!
Now, I certainly don’t think she’ll pull off a majority — likely a minority. And then at that juncture she’ll do what they thought she might have done earlier this year: resign and let the party choose some freshfaced scandal-free minister (I’m thinking Michael Coteau. Never heard of him? Yeah, that’s the point) to lead them into the next election, intent on climbing back into majority territory. That old game worked for the Alberta PCs before and, don’t forget, it’s how Wynne got into power in the first place, replacing the by then stalling Dalton McGuinty.
But why especially now do I want to run up to the bookmaker and place my wager on a win by Wynne? It’s not just because a new Forum Research poll puts the Liberals in fighting form — placing at a decent second 30% ranking behind the PCs at 38%. They’re behind, sure, but after over a decade of scandals and overspending, you’d think it would be much lower.
No, it was two moves by Wynne this past week that underscore how when it comes to politics, she’s the consummate professional, never to be underestimated. They both have to do with the Sudbury bribery trial and the subtle but remarkable way she re-framed the narrative.
First, there was this tidbit — as reported by my colleague Michelle Mandel: “Unlike virtually all witnesses who come to court to testify, Premier Kathleen Wynne remained standing and despite her high heels, never once sat during her four hours of testimony in the bribery trial of two highranking Liberals. She had a message to send: that she was here to testify of her own volition, that she did nothing wrong.”
If she had sat in the stand, a court sketch of her sitting at the same spot where we’re accustomed to seeing accused criminals would have made the papers and the evening news. Even though it’s a fact that she was there solely as a witness and not the accused, if you’re just looking up at the muted TV while waiting in line for coffee, you might have thought otherwise. Besides, the image would be