TORONTO — Former Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak was celebrated by all parties on his last day in the legislature as a dedicated advocate, family man and more charming than his public persona would suggest.
Hudak was first elected at age 27 and 21 years later is leaving politics for a job as CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association.
Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak smiles from his seat during question period Toronto on April 8, 2014. (Photo: Frank Gunn/CP)
The departing MPP for Niagara West-Glanbrook was elected PC leader in 2009, but failed to defeat the Liberal government in the 2011 and 2014 elections despite beginning the campaigns with big leads in opinion polls.
Hudak often appeared stiff in front of the cameras, but his jokester personality was on full display as he spoke for the last time in the legislature after tributes from all three parties.
Such tributes are generally reserved for former MPPs who have died, and Hudak joked that, "as Monty Python once said, 'I'm not quite dead yet.'"
Chokes up during speech
Hudak says nothing would make him prouder than to see his daughters elected to the legislature one day, but that since he and his wife — who was a senior advisor to former premier Mike Harris — are right leaning, his kids will no doubt be "plaid-wearing, Chuck Taylor-sporting New Democrats some day."
Hudak choked up while speaking, though he said he had told himself not to get emotional.
"I had worked hard to cultivate that hard-ass image over 21 years in this business," he joked. "It's just bad for the brand."