It's dream come true the seatless leader of the Ontario PCs. One of his MPPs, Laurie Scott, has agreed to step aside, so that the party's too progressive claiming to be conservative chief could finally have a seat in the provincial Parliament. For John Tory this is an opportunity to strengthen his leadership over the party; to get another chance to lead the party into a general election - and lose again. But this by-election could also be an opportunity for Ontario's only real Conservative party - the Family Coalition Party. Sure, the skeptics may say that it's unlikely for an FCP candidate to defeat a known politician and a would be opposition leader. But unlikely doesn't mean impossible.
First of all - Haliburton — Kawartha Lakes — Brock is a Conservative stronghold, but not necessarily a "Progressive Conservative". When a strong right-wing alternative had emerged on a Federal level, splitting the Conservative vote in the riding, the lion share of the votes actually went to the Reform/Alliance candidate that was continuously outperforming the candidate from the leftover Federal PCs. A right person, running for a party which is both fiscally and socially Conservative, against a politician that is neither, could make this happen on a Provincial level.
Secondly - it's a by-election, not a general election. There are no more concerns about who is going to form the government - we already know that it's a Liberal majority and so it will remain no matter what the by-election results are. Vote splitting isn't a great concern either - could a Liberal candidate be much worse than John Tory, whom Toronto Star endorses as "progressive", "open minded" and "urbane", whatever the latter means? If anything, there's a chance that a Liberal candidate (yet to be announced) may actually be somewhat more moderate on social issues than unabashedly pro-homosexual, pro-abortion John Tory.
Finally - by-election gives more weight to activists on both sides, because voter turnout is usually lower. The NDP and the Green voters will be there to cast their ballots, but there will be fewer Liberals voting. A strong FCP candidate could recreate a similar scenario on the right, with the energized FCP supporters coming to cast their ballots while the apathetic PCs staying home. With the NDP and the Greens about to take at least half of the left-of center vote, a 50-50 split on the right would reduce the margin of victory to mere 25-30%. Number-wise, with the expected turnout of 25,000-30,000 voters (out of 81,000), that means only 7500-9000 votes.
So it's a matter of nominating the right candidate. Only one is needed this time, not 107. If the FCP is serious about electing its first MP (or at the least - coming as close as possible to electing one) - the party should work hard on getting their best and brightest man nominated. That must be someone who has all the charisma and name recognition, all the time and money and all the will to victory it takes to win the race. Someone who is ready to do whatever it takes to convince thousands of people to vote Conservative, not Tory.