Earlier we posted on how the PCO faces a real challenge to regain its position as the natural ruling party of Ontario.
A major factor is that in the 416 and 905 the provincial party is paying for the sins of the federal party which is seen as being anti-city and particularly anti-Toronto.
In reviewing the punditry of the last few days, the general consensus seems to be that the party is going to move dramatically to the right, likely under the stewardship of Tim Hudak, Randy Hiller or Christine Elliot (Flaherty).
But I don't see the PCO returning to government any time soon, especially if it polarizes and gives up the middle.
It's unlikely that McGuinty can be pushed onto ground currently occupied by the NDP and their new leader. And since the middle is where Ontario is at, a move to the right can only further separate the PCs from the mainstream preference of the electorate.
The party braintrust has got to know that they need to rebuild in Toronto et al, and this will not be done overnight. And, to get a friendly hearing from the big middle means separating itself from the Federal party, not getting closer. Really, what have the Federal Tories done for Toronto lately?
Rushing to fill the top job any time soon (ie June in Hamilton) would be disastrous, I think, and accomplish nothing except carve in stone the current negative consensus opinion of the party.
There's over 2 years until another election. Use the next 18 months in getting the prospective leaders to commit to rebuilding the party; raising money, recruiting members and differentiating the PCO from the CPC. Then we'll see who the new leader needs to be; he or she will prove themselves.