Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bryant Gets Out

Michael Bryant has had enough of being a second tier minister in Dalton McGuinty's cabinet. While Bryant has had important portfolios in Aboriginal Affairs and Economic development, they never seemed big enough for Michael Bryant's britches. I expect with it all the more obvious that McGuinty intends to seek a third term in 2011, Bryant was looking for an exit strategy. The move to Invest Toronto provides a decent lateral exit strategy. The move into an organization run by Mayor Miller is an interesting move in terms of municipal politics. Miller needs to keep the Liberal voters who put him in office in 2003 if he gets a serious challenger in 2010. Appointing Bryant to an economic portfolio may be a way for Miller to keep the increasingly disenchanted right wing of his coalition happy. For Bryant it gives him distance from any of McGuinty's mistakes, if and when McGuinty retires and Bryant seeks the Liberal leadership.

However, the long term future political implications may not be as interesting as the short-term: namely, the by-election in St. Paul's. Why is a by-election in a safe Liberal seat interesting? Well, first the Liberal nomination fight. I expect there would be more than one person interested in the Liberal nomination for such a safe riding. The provincial party doesn't have the deep divisions that have plagued its federal counterparts and Bryant seemed to be one of the few people working behind the scenes for the race to replace McGuinty. This hopefully will mean a nomination fight based on the merits of the various candidates and not based on which future or past leadership hopeful they support. In other words, a wide open free-for-all. However, the race might not be as easy as the Liberal aspirants may think. The Tories (both provincially and federally) have always thought they should do better in St. Paul's. It contains some of the richer neighbourhoods in the city and seems to be prototypical of the old Toronto small-c conservative attitude. A by-election, with its low turnout and general wackiness, should be an ideal circumstance to try to steal the seat. The circumstances get better when you consider that the Tories should be riding relatively high after picking a new leader (even if Dalton waits until the fall to call the by-election). After the Tories lost a safe seat in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, I am loathe to rule anything out. I expect the Liberals to hold it, but I can't guarantee it, especially if the Tories find a strong candidate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Everyone thinks they know why - amazing isn't it?

It is probably just an opportunity he couldn't refuse. Period.

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