Since John "Charles Foster Kane" Tory had his ass handed to him in a by-election last month in what could've been the safest PC riding in the province, the tension surrounding who is going to step up and become the party's leader has risen all the way to "passably tepid."
Let's look at the candidates so far... because we all need a laugh in these rough-and-tough* times.
* I was almost going to type "rub-and-tug times." Maybe I should have.
Tim Hudak (Niagara West-Glanbrook)
You've seen John Baird before, right? Well, start with Baird, subtract a bit of chin, turn the overt aggression into dickish passive-aggression, and turn up the "smarmy bitch" factor by about 55%. Looks a little like a skinny mid-'80s Michael Keaton, if he fell asleep in a tanning bed.
Odds: 5-2; would've been lower, except he was part of the Woolco-to-Wal-Mart transition team back in the early '90s, and when I was little, I fucking loved the Woolco in the Lambton Mall in Sarnia.
Christine Elliott (Whitby-Oshawa)
This is Jim "Criminalize The Poor" Flaherty's wife, so you have to think a bit of his arrogant, whiskey-soaked Irish temper had to have rubbed off on her after decades of sharing a bed with him... actually, if there was one couple I'd expect to have Cleavers-esque twin beds, it'd be them.
Odds: 7-1; Mike Harris' name is still mud around here (as it should be), so anyone who bore his one-time Attorney General's children is guilty by association.
Frank Klees (Newmarket-Aurora)
Klees has been a big proponent of "school choice" over the years. Folks, if you hear that phrase, and it isn't immediately followed by the words "is a crock of shit cooked up by nutjobs with Milton Friedman shrines," run the other way. Fast.
Odds: 30-1; he's a boring guy from a boring part of the province. Then again, maybe that's not such a bad thing these days. In addition, the PCs haven't done too well lately on the subject of "major changes to education" (see "Private schools, Plan to give public funds to" from their '06 platform).
Randy Hillier (Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington)
A Libertarian in a PC's clothing, I think all you need to know about him can be summed up in this quote: "Our party cannot be a Liberal look-a-like holding a different shovel while digging the same hole and expect people to choose us, not them. We must demonstrate to everyone that Conservatives don't dig holes, but dig mountains of prosperity." Digging a mountain? Sounds about as ridiculous as appointing a high school dropout as Minister of Education.**
** which the PCs did in 1995 (see "Snobelen, John")
Odds: 100-1; if he was any farther right, he'd be Ron Paul. Even for the PCs, this guy's nuttier than a field of pecan trees. His campaign manager once ran federally for the Family Coalition Party which, as you might imagine, really, really doesn't want the fags to marry. Ever.
In conclusion, expect Dalton McGuinty to get a third term.