That was how a local Liberal organizer described a growing behind-the-scenes move to replace Kathleen Wynne before the next election. It started last week with a meeting of the Liberal caucus on Thursday. Little has leaked out of that meeting except that the Premier promised she would lead the party in the 2018 election: but with her approval ratings lower than those of Dalton McGuinty when he bailed, and the pretty much universal skepticism of her plan to lower hydro rates, the premier may be overtaken by events. The rumblings of discontent have been reaching Liberals in Hamilton for several weeks. At least two cabinet ministers or their surrogates have sent out feelers about possible support for their candidacy. The Toronto Star ran an story on the weekend, for the first time suggesting a possible departure for Wynne and listing possible successors. Todays National Post has a Kelly McPartland article speculating about a possible rebellion.
The question is whether any of this matters. Is it realistic to think that after 13 plus years in power the Liberals can duplicate the success they had by replacing McGuinty with Wynne? The hydro issue which is at the centre of voter dissatisfaction only serves to remind everyone about the chain of catastrophic blunders that largely started with McGuinty but which have stymied the current government.
The wild card of course is Patrick Brown whose track record as leader has been spotty. He has made it clear he does not want to get caught up in right wing social issues, but to succeed he needs to attract some attractive younger and more diverse candidates to dilute a caucus that still has too many old angry white men. Tory campaigns have self-immolated in the last two contests, and the Liberals are hoping for a three-peat. The issue is can a new leader pull it off?