The past four weeks have been an astonishing and unprecedented saga for Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party. The party leader stepped down because of allegations of sexual assault and was later kicked out of the caucus. Today, he’ll sit in the legislature as an independent MPP.
But, in a development that would seem far-fetched on a TV show, he’s running for his old job. In the meantime, the party has reopened nomination contests and disclosed its membership totals were inflated. But the embarrassment and chaos don’t necessarily mean the party has lost any chance of winning the next election. Polls show that Ontario voters still prefer several of the leadership candidates to Premier Kathleen Wynne. And once a new leader is chosen in just over two weeks, some of the uncertainty and confusion will disappear and some momentum could be created.
Come June, voters will still have to decide whether they want more of an unpopular government or whether it’s time for a change. And a lot of what happened in January and February will seem like a long time ago.