Here’s why I’m plac­ing my bets

Ottawa Sun - - NEWS - Mark­bonokoski@gmail.com @Mark­Bonokoski

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

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