Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Eric "Dark Horse" Hoskins

Third in our serious, following Harinder Takhar and Glen Murray, we reach Eric Hoskins. [Author's note - putting the nickname into the title was actually super fun, and I would not put it past me to make some up for the rest].

The first thing Hoskins brings is more meta, following in the footsteps of Glen Murray (footsteps only insofar as that's how I ordered them) with his self-description as a dark horse. Here's the thing. I don't mind if you, or even better people around you, describe you that way. With the incredible access we all now have to NCAA March Madness, I totally get that "dark horse" is considered to be a good thing. It's cool. But when it's in your campaign literature... there's just something way too 2012, post-ironic about it for my taste. You get others to describe you that way. But I digress (at length - I know).

Reviewing his platform (and, by the way, the first decent website so far in my review)... there are three things:

  1. A rural platform
  2. A stance on our youth unemployment crisis
  3. "Eric's Prescription for a Healthy Economy" 
The real meat, it turns out (unless I missed a click, the youth unemployment bit is realllly limited) is in the "prescription".  Here's some stuff I liked:
  • The recognition that our economy actually relies on our investments in each other, across the board (my words, not Hoskins's, btw). His "prescription" covers health, transit, etc - instead of just pretending we need to say "economy" a lot, or ape the "Progressive" "Conservatives".

  • Even if it's not aggressive enough for my tastes (the section reads pretty tamped down by staff), mentioning raising money for transit that "could include parking charges, tolls and congestion charges" gets a lot of points from me.
  • A solution to the youth unemployment thing mentioned earlier - "a volunteer program for youth coming out of college or university" through which youths could work off some of their OSAP sounds like a winner... as long as it's paid for
  • Gotta respect high speed internet for rural areas - a potential gamechanger
  • His poverty stuff is solid, and demonstrates it's something he cares about - increase the minimum wage and Ontario Child Benefit while implementing the social assistance review recommendations means some serious moves in this area. For others to comment on whether they're the right ones.
Overall, some solid promises, which demonstrate some willingness to take chances and push the policy envelope forward - exactly what I'd look for.

I think the big question here is one of viability... and we'll know more in a few days. It's hard to see, at this point, what he'd need - a huge, unpredicted shift from the candidate he can finish ahead of to him - rather than one of the next three candidates.

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