I have to admit that Oak Ridges MPP Frank Klees was astute to ask OPP Sergeant Cam Woolley to throw his jester’s hat into the ring on behalf of John Tory in the October general election. (It might have been smarter, however, to not tell the media until Woolley had actually decided to run.) My views on Cam’s curbside comedy aside (see below), it is evident that he has a high and largely-positive public profile.
The 905-area ridings will be key to Tory tossing Premier Pinocchio into the wood chipper come October. Woolley would be a good bet to take out any number of do-nothing 905 Fiberals, particularly Thornhill MPP Mario Racco, who campaigned on a pledge to roll back tolls on Highway 407, though the Liberals knew very well they would not be able to do so.
As a general note, history has shown that a “celebrity” candidate can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, recruiting a well-known figure lends credibility to a leader and party, and usually helps the vote in the candidate’s riding.
On the other hand, once elected, star candidates often feel – with some justification – that their election is due more to their own profile and accomplishments than the party leader and platform (hello, Garth Turner!). This can lead to problems with caucus and message discipline, which are crucial to competent governing.