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Hudak’s campaign team tightens up events after earlier gaffes

The Tories are tightening up their photo-ops after a series of embarrassing miscues.

Last week, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak staged the opening event of his campaign at a music studio whose owner has enthusiastically endorsed the sort of government business grants Mr. Hudak has pledged to scrap. Then on Friday, he used a country club as the backdrop for a plan to lay off 100,000 public sector workers.

And on Sunday, transit security shut down an announcement on a subway car after Mr. Hudak’s team didn’t bother to clear the event with the Toronto Transit Commission.

But Monday’s photo-op, at Niagara food packaging company Stanpac, was tightly scripted.

Reporters were led into the empty factory before Mr. Hudak, at the head of the entire staff, suddenly emerged from around a corner and filed out in front of the cameras. As soon as his news conference was done, the Tory leader and the posse of workers disappeared into a backroom, leaving the factory empty again.

The Tory advance team also did its homework and discovered Stanpac had received a government loan. So they pre-empted any uncomfortable questions by bringing out Murray Bain, one of the company’s vice-presidents, to tell reporters he would prefer Mr. Hudak’s promised cheaper hydro to the “corporate welfare” offered by the Liberals.

Mr. Hudak, meanwhile, was determined not to allow the subway fiasco to overshadow his campaign for a second day. Asked if he agreed with PC operatives — who accused the transit officers’ union of shutting down the previous day’s photo-op in revenge for Mr. Hudak’s anti-union policies — the Tory leader laughed and dodged the question.

It was the kind of slick event you’d expect from the party that has wanted an election for the last two years and spent nearly that long preparing for it.

Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak, hugs his newborn baby Maitland Hudak after greeting supporters at his headquarters during a campaign stop in Grimsby, Ont., on Monday, May 12, 2014. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak, hugs his newborn baby Maitland Hudak after greeting supporters at his headquarters during a campaign stop in Grimsby, Ont., on Monday, May 12, 2014. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

With a month to go before voting day, that ability to learn from mistakes will no doubt auger well for Mr. Hudak’s team.

And they’ll be hoping that, by the time Ontarians mark their ballots on June 12, country clubs, music studios and grim-faced TTC security officers will be but a distant memory.

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