Progressive Conservative leadership contender Christine Elliott attacked rival Tim Hudak yesterday over a proposal to scrap the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, warning it will poison the party’s chances of forming the next government.
In a speech, she twice singled out Hudak for his support of the proposal, raising the spectre of another disastrous campaign sunk by an unpopular issue.
“Are we really serious about wanting to win the next election? I know I am,” Elliott said during an all-candidates talk to the Canadian and Empire clubs.
“If we take the position that Tim is advocating, it would be a gift to the Liberals — one which they would exploit as ruthlessly as they did with faith-based funding.”
Her remarks seemed to be aimed at weakening Hudak’s support among party members, who are still licking their wounds from the 2007 election defeat.
The election campaign was dominated by the Conservatives’ ill-fated proposal to extend public funding to faith-based schools — a promise former leader John Tory made in the 2004 leadership race.
But the policy tanked with voters three years later, leading the Tories to one of their worst showings ever.
Hudak was reluctant to respond in kind, saying he’ll abide by former U.S. president Ronald Regan’s 11th commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of another Conservative.