Who is Tanya Granic Allen, the kingmaker in the Ont. PC leadership race, and what's next for her?

Who is Tanya Granic Allen, the kingmaker in the Ont. PC leadership race, and what's next for her?
From CBC - March 14, 2018

For being elected the new Progressive Conservative leader of Ontario and potentially the province's next premier, Doug Ford can thank Tanya Granic Allen, the long-shot candidate who, without a doubt, changed the course and the outcome of the brief PC leadership race.

Granic Allen was the kingmaker in the contest, which concluded Saturday night as dramatically as it had begun, triggered by the sudden resignation of Patrick Brown. He stepped down in late January following sexual misconduct allegations, which he denies.

Without Granic Allen in the race, Ford would not have had enough votes to eke out his narrow win over Christine Elliott, and he may not have leaned as hard to the right to court social conservative members.

The feisty 37-year-old, who talks with the energy of someone who just downed three triple espressos, said in an interview with CBC News Tuesday that she knew she'd have an impact on the PC leadership race, she just was not sure how big.

"Clearly after the results and we saw that Doug won, it's been pretty much laid bare that our campaign had a huge impact, and we were pretty much the deciding factor in who would be leader," said Granic Allen, the head of Parents As First Educators (PAFE), an organization that is opposed to Ontario's sex education curriculum.

Granic Allen's supporters flocked to Ford

PCs elect their leader using a ranked ballot. Elliott beat Ford on the first ballot and Caroline Mulroney came third, but no one had a majority of votes. Granic Allen finished last, which meant she dropped off for the second round.The results of the second ballot show that Granic Allen's supporters moved to Ford, and that was enough to push him into first.

Granic Allen estimates that about 80 per cent of her supporters went to Ford, though she says she did not instruct her supporters to put the former Toronto city councillor as their second choice. Rather, she encouraged people "to vote based on their issues."

She also says she never made any deals with any candidate during the campaign.

The announcement of Ford's victory was delayed by several hours Saturday after Elliott disputed the way some votes were allocated. But when it came, around 10 p.m., Granic Allen was there. She says she would have stood behind whoever was named leader.

Her presence 'shifted the debate'

The next day, following a hectic month of campaigning and on Sunday, Granic Allen caught her breath. She went to church then had lunch with her parents, who live in Etobicoke, where she and Ford both were raised. Later, she went swimming with her husband and four children in the hotel pool.

Reflecting on the race, Granic Allen said she was in it to win it and even though she lost, she feels victorious. She accomplished her goal of putting sex education on the agenda, and she also pitched herself as a voice for grassroots conservatives who were frustrated by the way Brown ran the party.

The groupGranic Allen heads,PAFE, considers Ontario's sex education "radical" because of some of the content that's taught and at what ages concepts like gender identity are introduced.

Granic Allen said her entry in the race "shone a light" on the issue andchallenged the other candidates to state their positions. Ford was the first to say he would revise the curriculum.Elliott said she was open to it, while Mulroney said she would leave it alone.

"Yes, I definitely think that my being in the race shifted the debate," Granic Allen said.

Passion for politics

She caught people's attention during the first televised debate when she quipped that perhaps Ontario's students would be doing better in math if they were not distracted talking about anal sex in the classroom.

"I think after the first debate people thought, 'Who is this woman?' After the second debate, my performance there, people just really said we have to listen to what she's got to say," Granic Allen said.

Even though she's never run for office before, Granic Allen says she was not intimidated by the pressure or public speaking that came with it.

She graduated with a degree in politics from Western University, where she was active with the school's campus conservatives.Along the way took courses in Russian literature and the history of aviation.

Will she or wo not she run?

Potential role worries some PCs


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