Christina Blizzard is the Queenâ€™s Park columnist for QMI and has worked for the Toronto Sun and Britainâ€™s The Guardian. She is the author of Right Turn: How the Tories Took Ontario and is past president of the Legislative Press Gallery. Christina lives in Toronto.
It wasnâ€™t so much a big blue machine that chugged its way across Ontarioâ€™s political landscape in the spring of 1995 â€” it was more a big purple bulldozer driven by leader Mike Harris and a new breed of Tories. Gone were the pinstripes and the cigar-chomping backroom boys of the forty-two years of Tory rule. These Tories were young, hip, and they were riding the wave of their Common Sense Revolution, a platform launched a year earlier.
Still, there were only a few who thought the PCs stood a chance of winning the Ontario provincial election. Though Bob Raeâ€™s NDP government was foundering, Lyn McLeod and the Liberals were holding what looked like a steady two-to-one lead in the polls. Relying on a combination of video tapes, clever advertising, and a brilliant campaign plan, the Harris team turned it all around, pulling off one of the most stunning upsets in Canadian political history.
Right Turn tells the story.
Anyone who wonders how the Tories, who had been in disfavour for years, and Mike Harris, a relative unknown, won last yearâ€™s provincial election will find this short volume a good read.