Working notes, observations, links and other errata from a parliamentary bureau reporter in Ottawa, Canada.
About "David Akin"
Gemini Award-winning journalist David Akin is the National Bureau Chief for Sun Media and is based at Sun's Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He has covered events as varied as Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s annual tours through the Arctic to the uprisings in Egypt in the spring of 2011 to terror trials at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, Cuba. Akin received a Gemini Award for his reporting while he was a correspondent for CTV National News with Lloyd Robertson and he was a National Newspaper Award finalist while working as a contributing writer for The Globe and Mail. His 20-year career in journalism also includes being a member of the inaugural staff at the National Post.
Akin has long been one of Canada’s journalism pioneers when it comes to exploring ways to use digital media and computer-assisted tools for newsgathering and publishing. His blog, On The Hill, is nearly a decade old and he is a frequent speaker on the use of social media in communications.
Akin has been named one of the 100 most influential people on Parliament Hill.
A Montrealer by birth, Akin studied history at the University of Guelph. He lives near Ottawa with his wife and two children.
Since Stephen Harper became leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, he has led his side through 30 by-elections. His party’s record in those by-elections? Pretty good. Conservatives held 7 seats in which they were the incumbent, stole 4 seats from another incumbent party, and suffered 1 loss. In the rest, they were neither the incumbent nor were able to steal. Read more…
Christine Elliott announces she is running for the Ontario PC party leader flanked by three of the seven caucus colleagues who have already declared their support for her. They are, from left, Norm Miller, Sylvia Jones, and Michael Harris. (Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency)
Usually, though not always, it’s helpful for a prospective party leader to have members of the legislative caucus on his or her side, the more usually the merrier.
Alison Redford won the Alberta PC leadership with little or no caucus support (and look what happened). Justin Trudeau won with dominant caucus support (and we’ll see what happens.)
In 2009, Christine Elliott tried to win the Ontario PC leadership. She had decent caucus support but finished third, well behind winner Tim Hudak who had some dominant caucus support. Elliott announced this week she is back for another kick at the can, and this time, she appears to be attempting a pre-emptive strike by locking up as much caucus support as possible.
She is the only announced contestant at this point with seven of her caucus colleagues on board. That means that, in a caucus of 28 PC MPPs, 8 (including Elliott) are going to vote for her to be leader — better than one-quarter.
Sylvia Jones is the only one of those seven who, as an MPP, supported Elliott then and will do so again now. Norm Miller was an MPP in 2009 but back then he endorsed Hudak. Now he’s endorsing Elliott. The other five were not MPPs in 2009.
Who else among her current caucus colleagues supported Hudak against her in 2009? Bob Bailey; Toby Barrett; Garfield Dunlop; Lisa MacLeod; Julia Munro; Jim Wilson; John Yakabuski; Ernie Hardeman. MacLeod is considered a likely rival … [Watch as I interview MacLeod on Battleground on Sun News Network last night]
The rest of the current PC Party caucus at Queen’s Park was either not around as MPPs in 2009 or did not back anyone (or, in the case of Randy Hillier, ran for the leadership, finished 4th, and said he is not running this time.)
In the case of the Ontario PCs, it’s also interesting to see which members of the current federal Conservative caucus jumped into the race. Elliott is the widow of former finance minister Jim Flaherty and many in Stephen Harper’s caucus and cabinet got their start at Queen’s Park.
Moreover, many names from the current Conservative caucus have been bandied about as potential Ontario party leaders. Those include Lisa Raitt, John Baird, Tony Clement, Michael Chong, Rick Dykstra, and Patrick Brown.
Here are are current Conservative MPs supported Elliott in 2009: Peter Braid, Colin Carrie, Chong, Ed Holder, Greg Rickford, Bruce Stanton, Peter Van Kesteren, Mike Wallace, Jeff Watson and Terence Young. Elliott’s husband, Flaherty, was the only member of the federal cabinet to support her bid for leader.
Other notables who supported Elliott in 2009: A Toronto city councillor named Rob Ford. And Richard Ciano, how is the current president of the Ontario PCs.
It’s worth reviewing who among current federal Conservatives supported Hudak in 2009: They included cabinet heavyweights Baird, Jason Kenney, Peter Van Loan, Clement, and Rob Nicholson.
Among backbenchers, the following supported Hudak: Gord Brown, Patrick Brown, Paul Calandra, Barry Devolin, Dykstra, Royal Galipeau, Daryl Kramp, Pierre Poilievre, Joe Preston, Gary Schellenberger, and David Sweet.
Toronto candidate for mayor Olivia Chow rallies her supporters at the Chestnut Conference Centre in downtown Toronto Sunday. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency)
Last night, Olivia Chow unveiled two new radio ads in her campaign to win the job of Mayor of Toronto. The two ads are “attack ads” and they go after the incumbent, Rob Ford. As far as attack ads go, they’re pretty slick and may make you chuckle. Listen to them here: Read more…
As an Ontario Progressive Conservative, Steve Clark is about safe as safe can be in his Eastern Ontario riding of Leeds-Grenville, but how does he – and other Ontario Tories — make more ridings more Tory-friendly? For Clark, the first step is going to the riding next door, Kingston and the Islands, and asking voters there why they don’t like his party.
The posts on this blog are, by and large, created and maintained by me, David Akin, the national bureau chief for Sun Media.
I receive no fees, considerations, etc. for the posts on this blog nor do I have any plans to accept any beyond the salary paid to me by Sun Media and Sun News Network. Both those companies are owned by Quebecor Inc. As a publicly traded Canadian company, Quebecor must disclose financial and other information. You can monitor those disclosures at Quebecor's Web site.
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I am not, nor have I ever been during my 25 years as a professional journalist, a member of any political party. I own no shares or equity in any corporation or business, my employer's included. Any investments I have are in widely-held mutual funds.
If you think other disclosures are appropriate in this space, I'd like to hear from you. All of my contact details are always at www.davidakin.com.