TORONTO, November 15, 2001 ( – Ernie Eves has revealed himself to be a candidate firmly against life and family and all things social conservatives hold dear. In announcing his candidacy yesterday, he boasted about his pro-abortion voting record. The National Post reports today “Eves also attempted to make abortion a campaign issue, reminding voters that he broke with Conservative ranks to support a Liberal abortion-rights bill in the 1980s.” The vote was actually to allow public funding for “women’s” centres, which performed abortions.

Eves’ negative record on family issues is very public. His messy 1998 divorce of his wife of over 30 years was reported in various papers. Almost at the same time his new relationship began with millionairess Isabel Bassett, the former citizenship and culture minister and widow of multi-millionaire John Bassett Sr. Eves now refers to Bassett as his “partner in life”. Bassett also has a history as a strong abortion advocate.

Eves’ lack of commitment to political responsibilities, though, is likely to be his biggest downfall. His abandoning of his post as Ontario Finance Minister and quick appointment to a $1.2 million a year job with Credit Suisse First Boston investment bank still riles some Conservatives. That negativity was exacerbated yesterday as he announced that he would not be leaving either his Credit Suisse job or his work for the Borden Ladner Gervais law firm while he runs for Premier.

In an attempt to appeal to the common man and distance himself from his opulent Bay St. moneyman image, Eves was widely quoted as saying, “I like Bay Street, but to be blunt, I’ve always felt more comfortable on Main Street.” However MPP’s from the opposition parties were quick to pounce on the disingenuous appeal to the common man, delivered ironically in the glitzy Roy Thompson Hall. “I find it astonishing that a candidate who makes a claim to be a candidate of Main Street can, at the same time, acknowledge that he will continue to be an enormously well-paid candidate of Bay Street,” Liberal MPP George Smitherman said in the Globe and Mail. New Democratic Party Leader Howard Hampton was quoted in the Toronto Star as saying, “The people of Ontario have a right to know who is in effect bankrolling the person who could well become the next premier of the province.”

Another point of weakness for Eves may be his cockiness. Coming into the race, he dashed the hopes of various candidates who felt compelled to drop out of the race and sign on to his campaign. In addition, 26 members of the PC caucus, including 13 ministers, currently support him. Heather Bird points out in the Toronto Sun that Eves made a revealing slip of the tongue as he said, while surrounded by his supporters, “If leaders are judged by the persons around them, I’m a very fortunate person indeed.” Bird comments saying, “Yes, indeed. Especially given that he’s not the leader. Yet. Or maybe even ever.”

Political observers point out that the large endorsement by the Tory caucus does not guarantee a victory. In fact, Tom Long was backed by more caucus members than Eves has on side now when Long ran for the Canadian Alliance leadership. The PC caucus support did not translate into even an Ontario victory for Long, who was beat-out in his home province by a certain someone from Alberta.

See the coverage in the Sun, Globe, Post and Star at: