A reinvigorated party, ready to head to the polls and unseat Kathleen Wynne and the scandal-plagued Liberals.
That’s the prognosis from Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek as his party emerged from last weekend’s pep rally in London.
“All of the caucus left pretty invigorated and ready to go behind Tim (Hudak),” Jeff told City Scope on Thursday.
“Tim has even come out on fire in the legislature all week and really focused on jobs and the economy. He has really loosened up and he’s ready to go for the next election.”
We’ll zero in on jobs in a moment, however we had to peg Jeff down on the party’s leader who just doesn’t seem to resonate with the majority of voters.
“Tim is the right person for the job,” Jeff insists. “Especially with his economic background and his two degrees. It’s just him getting out and meeting people in the community and getting his message across.
“Tim is not a machine, he’s a real human being, he’s a dad.”
That last observation is a reference to Tim’s daughter, Miller Hudak, who staged her own Kodak moment at the convention when she charged up to her dad to embrace him in a queen-sized hug.
“That’s probably one of the driving factors in him wanting the job, to give a future to Miller and all of her generation,” observes Jeff.
Back to jobs – a priority for Jeff – how about some specifics. There isn’t a politician around who doesn’t point to job creation as a critical consideration.
“What we’ve done in the legislature is we’ve agreed with the premier to clear out all her bills that she wants passed so she can bring forward specific legislation to help improve the economy and create jobs.
“If she won’t, then we’ll start proposing PC legislation and, hopefully, she’ll support us.”
Asked if he had seen specifics of the Liberal’s economic game plan, Jeff responds with a firm “nope.”
“Tanning bed legislation and the accountability office were her priorities and they should be all finished with by the end of the month. So, let’s bring up the real meat and potatoes of her premiership.”
Does he think she has a plan?
“Nope,” Jeff repeats. “No, I don’t.”
So, is his party battle ready?
“Yeah, everyone is pretty excited. It’s been a pretty enjoyable week in Toronto after the convention. We’re pretty united after the weekend. Let’s go to the polls and have a new government.”
We’ll continue the conversation next week with a focus on the party’s white paper, “Paths to Prosperity: Flexible Labour Markets.”
DAMN THE DETRACTORS
A lot of negativity on our website and Facebook page with regard to the merits of the London & Port Stanley replica station which officially opened last weekend.
Well, it gets an enthusiastic stamp of approval from this corner and a thumbs up to city CAO Wendell Graves, a driving force behind this revitalization project.
We talked to Wendell earlier this year on his development philosophy.
“With the railway station, as much as it’s about the project, to me it’s about the partnerships that make it happen,” he advised.
“The courthouse is a partnership project. Algoma University and the whole Wellington block is a partnership project. It’s being able to find those partners and put the deal together. It’s been extremely rewarding and beneficial to the city as a whole.”
For those who questioned and challenged the logic of returning the CAO position to city hall, the individual who bears the title is compiling an impressive track record and, as a result, the city is reaping the benefits.
ANOTHER STATION STOP
Lingering on the railway theme, reader Terry Mason posted this insight on the T-J website.
“The CASO station is a shining example of what can be accomplished when you look beyond the wrecking ball. I commend all those involved for their efforts in saving, restoring and preserving this vital part of St. Thomas history.
“A vision, commitment, and many hours of hard work and dedication has returned this once neglected and dilapidated building to its former glory. The CASO station is an integral part of our heritage that St. Thomas residents can be proud of and enjoy for many years to come.
“Let this be a lesson to certain folks on city council that it is not through neglect and backward thinking that we protect our heritage. Sadly, doing nothing gave us Alma College, a preventable and equally important part of St. Thomas history.”
Another week of phone messages elicited nary a response from David McGee – formerly of Sutherland Press building fame – the apparent owner of an abandoned apartment building on St. Catherine St.
We know he is retrieving the messages but McGee remains as elusive a figure as he was in 2009 when he complained he couldn’t get support from St. Thomas council for his sketchy vision of swanky loft residences on Talbot Street.
Perhaps his PR maven at the time, Suzanne Van Bommel, and the Downtown Development Board chairman in 2009, Mark Cosens, can assure area residents who have to put up with the abandoned apartment building that Mr. McGee also has a vision for this eyesore.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“We bring the news of little Johnny scored three goals. We bring the births, the deaths, the life moments of the people in this community.”
Bev Ponton, who retired as publisher of the Times-Journal on Friday, documenting the value of community-based daily newspapers like the T-J.
City Scope appears Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow @ianscityscope