Tom Osborne weighing feedback from his constituents
Independent MHA Tom Osborne plans on making a firm decision on his political future by late August or September, but right now he’s asking constituents to help him figure it out.
The district newsletter he’s been sending out is purple this year, because that was the most neutral colour he could think of.
It also includes a card that essentially asks constituents which colour Osborne should make his newsletter next year.
“I will consider your feedback as I make my decision,” the small white card says, after asking constituents whether Osborne should join the Liberals, join the NDP or stay as an independent. The card also offers the options: “We support the person; we will support you whatever party you join” and “Does not matter; we do not support you.”
“I’m getting a lot of people saying that whatever party I join, they will support me. There are some people suggesting that I stay independent,” Osborne said.
Osborne broke with the Tories last September after decades of involvement with the party, saying he couldn’t support the leadership of Premier Kathy Dunderdale.
Osborne has said that before he joins any other political party, he’ll consult with his constituents. And as he’s hearing from them, Osborne said he’s hearing plenty about Dunderdale and the last election.
“There are people who tell me that they were very, very pleased when I stepped away from the PC Party — that in 2011 they simply didn’t go out to vote because they couldn’t vote for Premier Dunderdale and they didn’t want to vote against me,” Osborne said. “There are others who said they had voted for me for years, and because of the Jack Layton effect and the bit of the rising popularity in the NDP at the time, some people are saying they had a tough decision deciding between me and the NDP.”
Most of Osborne’s constituents have a copy of the newsletter already, and he said he’s going to have the last of them delivered by the end of July. He hand delivers many of them himself.
While he said he’d make his decision by the end of the summer, he made it clear his constituents’ feedback isn’t the only factor he’ll consider.
Joining any political party as an MHA is bound to involve some negotiation and discussion about his views on various issues, as well as what role Osborne might play within a caucus.
While constituents’ feedback will play a “major role” in the decision, he said, there are other factors to think about, too.
“It’s not the only factor in how I decide what I’m going to do,” Osborne said. “A great deal of thought has gone into this already, and I will be in a position, very soon, to make a decision.”