Tributes for Hudak on last day in legislature

A long-time, Liberal MPP and political rival of Progressive Conservative Tim Hudak, on his last day in the legislature, described him as a man who never flip-flopped.

Hudak, who has served Niagara West-Glanbrook constituency since 1995, announced last month he was leaving politics. Elected at age 27, Hudak became PC leader in 2009, but lost provincial elections to the Liberals in both 2011 and 2014. Thursday, in the legislature, Jim Bradley, MPP for St. Catharines for the past 39 years, spoke of Hudak as a man with integrity.

“He didn’t pander to the issue of the day. He didn’t pander to individual interest groups and so on,” Bradley said.

Bradley recalled the past support Hudak showed for funding West Lincoln Memorial Hospital, but his equally strong stance for monetary restraint.

“He said, ‘No, this is my position. Even though I know and the people know.’ And subsequent to that, he was a strong advocate and started petitions for the hospital,” Bradley said.

Hudak has left his 21 years in politics behind to become CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association. He was noticeably emotional as he said farewell to the legislature.

“I have worked hard to cultivate this hard-ass image over 21 years in this business,” he said. “It’s just bad for the brand.”

Hudak also acknowledged that his public persona varied among constituents and fellow MPPs while a sitting member.

“I’ve been a lot of different things to a lot of different people: (as) an MPP, I was the kid; now I’m the veteran, the minister, leader, robot, frat boy, Bay Street stooge,” Hudak joked.

Fellow PC member Lisa MacLeod (Nepean-Carleton) also paid tribute to Hudak’s consistency as an MPP and her leader.

“Since he’s left as leader I often hear from people – and some of you may hear it too – ‘I like this new Tim Hudak,’ or, ‘Why wasn’t that Tim Hudak on the campaign trail?’” she said.

“Well, he is that Tim Hudak and he’s always been that Tim Hudak, and it’s the Tim Hudak that I like,” she said.