Meet the new boss…same as the old boss?

Ontario, I hafta say I’m disappointed in you.  After 10+ years of Liberal rule, you gave them a renewed mandate with a majority government the other night.  It’s not that I’m against liberalism, or the Liberal Party in general (I considered voting for them federally until I found out who my local candidate is), but this particular brand of Liberals seems to be allergic to responsible spending.  Lest we forget Ornge, eHealth, all-day kindergarten, the cancelled gas plants…and so on.  Add to that a litany of broken election campaign promises, and I just can’t understand why we still want them running this province.

In the 90′s, Ontario had political alternance, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  After the Liberal majority of the late 80′s disappointed too many voters, the NDP took power under Bob Rae in 1990.  And when Rae tried to take things a little too far to the left, he was turfed in favour of Mike Harris’ Tories in ’95.  There are still plenty of people in this province who despise one or both of those politicos, but the good news is that Rae’s reign lasted only five years, while Harris was Premier for seven.  Dalton McGuinty, on the other hand, ran this province with a papier-mâché fist for a full decade–and he was never voted out; he quit.

So, does his no-longer-unelected successor automatically make things better?  I’m really not sure.  The first Liberal budget (turned election platform) under Kathleen Wynne was considered their most “progressive” in quite some time, a clear attempt for their then-minority government to win the support of the NDP.  But when the NDP moved further to the right, campaigning on a platform of fiscal responsibility (which still doesn’t quite compute), the Liberals were able to earn the “progressive” vote, as all the champagne socialists jumped ship from the Dippers.  Man, I chuckle every time I see an NDP sign on a well-manicured lawn in Forest Hill…

Hey, I grew up in Alberta, so suffice to say I’m not to the left of the local Liberals.  I am somewhat concerned that their debt-reduction strategy largely consists of “We’ll keep doing what we’re doing, cuz it’s working so far…right?”  And I’ve been through enough McGuinty campaigns in my nine years living here to know that what the provincial Libs promise at election time probably won’t ever come to fruition.  I’m not saying there was a much better option out there–full disclosure, I voted PC–but the thought of the Liberals as the “Natural Governing Party” of this province sorta makes me sick.  I mean, one of the reasons I left Wild Rose Country was the increased complacency and incompetency of a PC dynasty that’s been in place since 1971.  (The other reason was Nickelback.)  Perhaps it’s not surprising that the Alberta Tories are currently trying to rug-sweep a corrupt leader of their own, and are actually in danger of losing to the Wildrose Party in the near future.  Both my previous and current provinces could use a little of that ol’ political alternance, if you ask me.

Now, I know that Tim Hudak caught a lotta flak for stepping down as Ontario PC leader, but I can’t see how he could’ve possibly stayed on.  Let’s see, as Leader of the Opposition to a less-than-popular minority government, you bomb so spectacularly that you not only hand your opponents a majority, but see your seat count drop significantly in the process?  GTFO and don’t let the door hit ya!  Ontarians clearly still hate Mike Harris so much that the Common Sense Revolution Redux was a major flop, and I can only hope that the Tories find some new ground with their new leader next time around.  (On that note, it looks like Jim Prentice is already taken.)  Otherwise, I might actually hafta vote NDP in 2018.  Hey, they are the party of responsible spending now, right? ;)

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No, Rob Ford is NOT running for provincial premier…

Lost beneath the local media’s extensive coverage of a Rob Ford sighting in Midland last weekend was a much more relevant political event.  While the second-leading candidate for Mayor of This CityTM has suspended his campaign to go to Robhab, a more impactful political race is taking place as we speak.  I’ve seen a few Ontario election attack ads during hockey games, but otherwise not much media coverage compared to such important occasions as the one-year anniversary of the videotape of Rob Ford smoking crack being seen by The Star.  Erm, make that the first videotape of The Alleged Mayor of This Alleged CityTM allegedly smoking a substance believed to be crack cocaine to be viewed by a reporter. :P

But enough about Rob Ford…let’s talk Tim Hudak.  The Ontario PC leader, best known as Timmy Six-Pack for his fervent support of the right to sell beer in convenience stores–an initiative I could get behind–now stands a pretty reasonable chance of being the next Premier of This Province*.  Admittedly, it’s a pretty low bar to climb.  After all, the last man to stand as Premier resigned from his leadership of a government one seat short of a majority over its most recent billion-dollar spending scandal.  And yes, there was more than one billion-dollar spending-scandal under Dalton McGuinty…

Perhaps it’s no surprise then that the provincial NDP launched an election platform to end wasteful spending and support job creators.  Waitaminnit, that’s the NDP platform?  I’ll be damned if I ever saw the (Rae) day that the provincial socialists took a page outta Mike Harris’ playbook, but it sounds like Andrea Horwath’s moved the Dippers a little more than two inches to the right.  Which is interesting for me, considering that I live in a riding that’s been held by the NDP provincially since 1999.  (And no, I did not vote for the incumbent in the last election!)

But just like George Smitherman’s mayoral campaign ideas four years ago seemed to be awfully similar to Rob Ford’s, it seems the NDP is simply stealing from the party with the proven track record–for better or worse–of cutting spending and reducing debt.  A left-wing party promising to cut the waste sounds an awful lot like one of Dalton McGuinty’s broken promises.  How’s that balanced budget coming along, Kathleen Wynne?

I’m not saying that I’m definitely voting for the Tories, but just how I felt that voting for Rob Ford would prevent Smitherman, McGuinty’s former right-hand man, from winning the Mayorship, it certainly seems like the Ontario PC Party has the best chance of unseating the Liberals.  And while I still rue the day that I actually marked a big fat X next to Rob Ford’s name, I’m pretty sure that Tim Hudak is no Rob Ford…even if his vision of privatized alcohol sales would enable several drunken stupors. :P

As far as I’m concerned, if you’re still unquestionably committed to the Ontario Liberal Party after 10+ years of shoddy governance and gross fiscal mismanagement, you’re just about as bad as those card-carrying members of Ford Nation.  I mean, no one’s actually seen a video of Dalton McGuinty allegedly smoking a substance believed to be crack cocaine, but some of his decision-making while in office certainly raised the question as to whether he might have consumed some white, powdery substance, perhaps in the form of a rock… ;)

 

*catchphrase not yet trademarked.

COMMENT OF THE DAY: I dunno guy, but I don’t think they had halter tops in the 12th century…

From: http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2013/06/07/dress_code_in_kathleen_wynnes_office_forbids_miniskirts_halter_tops.html

The Toronto Star is reporting that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has issued a summer dress code to her office which is more or less identical to the dress code at every other office in the city—except for the Toronto Star, apparently.  Still, you knew it wouldn’t be long before someone invoked the ere of Henry I in the comments section:

cotd67

Now, I might be going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing you can’t dress like a cowboy movie in Kathleen Wynne’s office, either.

Meet the new boss, same minority government as the old boss…

Although she’s yet to officially be sworn in as the 25th premier of Ontario, yesterday Kathleen Wynne “received the official nod to form government” (as per The Globe and Mail).  Once she dots the ceremonial i’s and crosses the official t’s, she’ll become, in one fell swoop, both the first female premier and the first homosexual premier in Ontario’s history.  Somewhere, George Smitherman just threw a hissy fit…

Of course, while she’s yet to assume official duties, the Toronto Star is already praising Wynne (surprise, surprise) with an editorial entitled “Unlike Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Ontario’s future premier Kathleen Wynne is an adult.”  Could we expect any less from the newspaper whose secret slogan is “Rob Ford sucks more that a great big bag of blow jobs!”?  Of course, The Star are known Liberal supporters, too.  You could put a red tie on Bob Rae, and they’d be suddenly singing his praises.  Erm, case in point.

For a province with a recent history of putting up with its leaders past the breaking point, then promptly turfing them out of office (see Rae, Bob; Harris, Mike), the appointment of Wynne to the premiership smacks of an Alberta coronation.  Of course, in Canada’s economic engine, power changes hands through a PC leadership race, not a provincial election–and that’s exactly what happened here, only on the centre-left instead of the centre-right.  (Keep in mind Alberta also has a Regressive Conservative Party, aka Wildrose.)  I suppose it’s our punishment for not voting out McGuinty when we had the chance.  Instead, he gets to bow out, semi-gracefully, although his eventual obituary in the Toronto Sun will probably still spell his last name as McQuitty, heh heh.

Not that the official opposition parties offer much of an alternative, mind you.  Tim Hudak’s stump speeches are starting to sound like a beer vendor at the Rogers Centre, while any public appearances I’ve seen from Andrea Horwath make me think that her PR team really wants her to be Jack Layton.  Even in some zany alternate universe where the two sides join forces, the NDPC party might not unseat the Liberals.  Mind you, they would currently have one more seat in Queen’s Park under such an improbable scenario…

So, does this mean that the Libs are now Onatrio’s Natural Governing Party?  Well, perhaps until an inquiry is called into those cancelled power plants, that is.  One need look no further than Quebec, where Jean Charest’s nine-year reign come to a crashing halt after bringing in the Charbonneau Commission–although the student strike certainly played a factor as well.  But if Charest fell on his sword, losing his seat a la Ignatieff, McGuinty’s leap landed on a limp pool noodle.  But hey, it wasn’t even the first time an unpopular Ontario premier left someone else to clean up his mess.  As you may recall, Mike Harris didn’t finish out his last term, either.  (Ernie Eves?  He got beat in the next election like a rented boy at Boy George’s house–by McGuinty, no less!)

Then again, if we return to the McGuinty-Charest parallel, the next election would see the Liberals narrowly lose power… to a separatist entity.  Rathnelly Republican Party 2015!!!!

COMMENT OF THE DAY: Good thing I shop at The Beer Store…

From: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1308767–lcbo-to-open-wine-liquor-stores-in-some-supermarkets

The Ontario government announced today that you’ll finally be able to buy booze in grocery stores.  Well, maybe.  The official word is that 10 LCBO “express stores” will be opened, primarily in rural areas.  And here’s the kicker: you’ll still hafta pay for your booze and your groceries separately.  Hardly seems worth the hassle, if you ask me.  Then again, there are people so hellbent on avoiding the LCBO that they’ll drive all the way to Buffalo to buy booze.  Case in point:

cotd1231

On that note, the LCBO closes for New Year’s at 6 pm today, and will remain closed all day tomorrow.  Better grab a fresh towel… ;)

Party at Queen’s Park—Tim Hudak’s bringing the (privatized) booze!

The Ontario legislature may be prorogued until Dalton McGuinty’s replacement is appointed, but that hasn’t stopped Tory leader Tim Hudak from making policy proposals, which don’t necessarily reflect the views of his party, mind you.  The latest?  Put booze in convenience stores—and sell off the LCBO while we’re at it.

“You could drive out of this province in any direction you wanted to go to, and you’d find more choice and more competition in privately run stores,” he said, according to the National Post.  Amen, brother.  When you can’t buy Old Style Pilsner anywhere in Ontario, you’ve virtually eliminated any possibility of Fubar III being shot in this province.  (Although, to be honest, that would be kinda weird if it was…)

And while he may lead a party that courts upper-income voters, Timmy Hu can still savour the taste of cheap beer.  As he told reporters last winter, “There are many folks, and myself included, who look forward to the $24 two-four on the May 24 weekend, that is now something in the past.”  But, as the CBC noted at the time, “Hudak would not commit to making cheaper beer part of the Tories’ platform in the provincial election set for Oct. 6.”  Here’s hoping this latest announcement signifies a change of policy for the next election… Beer & Spirits 2013!

FRENCH WORD OF THE DAY: Démissionnaire

Démissionnaire: Someone who has renounced their functions and/or resigned from their position.

As seen in: « Les libéraux de l’Ontario choisiront la personne qui succédera au premier ministre démissionnaire Dalton McGuinty à la fin janvier. »

(Translation: “The Ontario Liberals will choose the person who’ll succeed resigned premier Dalton McGuinty at the end of January.”)

http://fr.canoe.ca/infos/quebeccanada/archives/2012/10/20121021-230026.html

DOWN GOES DALTON!!! DOWN GOES DALTON!!!!

What do Jean Charest and Dalton McGuinty have in common?  Well, for starters, neither is the leader of the Liberal Party anymore.  Charest at least did the (semi-)honourable thing, setting up a commission into the corruption, erm, construction industry, then calling an election whereby he lost his seat in the National Assembly while his party was narrowly forced out of power.  The fact that a handful of his cabinet ministers also chose to resign or not to contest this past election, well, anyone who’s been following the Charbonneau commission closely can start to see why…

But on the other hand, there was no indication that McGuinty would be stepping down when Ontarians went to the polls a little over a year ago.  Sure, many were hoping that he’d lose his grip on power and be forced to resign, but without any credible opposition (even some Toronto Sun readers wouldn’t vote for “Two-Faced Timmy” Hudak), he was only reduced to a minority government–and by one seat at that.  Thus, rather than an honourable discharge, this looks more like Premier Dad took his newly-banned hard ball and went home.  Say what you want about Stephen Harper (I don’t particularly like the guy, either), but he reigned over several successive minorities before finally obtaining his “strong, stable, national Conservative majority government.” *vomit*  McGuinty was swept into power with consecutive majority governments, and when he was finally faced with a situation where he actually had to compromise and work with the opposition, he called it quits after a year.

“And you play only when you control it…” goes the old Edwin song.  The next line?  “And you lie!”  Dalton might not have been the first dishonest politician in the province’s history, but he’s certainly gone a long way in contributing the cynicism and contempt I harbour towards provincial politics.  It never seemed to matter whether his campaign platform was even feasible; you kinda got the feeling that he wouldn’t deliver on half his policies anyways.  Or at least a bitter, jaded, never-voted-Liberal elector like me did.  If McGuinty was to put out an edgy alt-rock album, he could call it Liberal Promises.  What with the CanCon regs, he’d be bound to get at least a little airplay…

Sometime around the last election, I tried to sit down and think of Liberal policies that I could actually, truly thank McGuinty for.  The only one I could come up with?  Making Family Day an official provincial holiday in February.  Nevermind that we always took that day off in Alberta long before I came out here–heck, with the PD Days the teachers would take around that time, it usually turned into a five-day weekend!  Alas, most of Premier Dad’s notable achievements, it seems, were centred on children and education.

Now, I don’t have kids, and I didn’t go to school here–except for my post-secondary education, where I benefited *snicker* from some of the highest tuition fees in the country.  I ended up with a degree that hasn’t gotten me nearly as far in my career as overall intelligence, competence, and simply having the skills to pay the bills (being bilingual helps).  And long before the carrés rouges were marching in the streets of Montreal, a large number of Ontario students descended upon Queen’s Park to protest our much-higher tuition fees.  Whole lotta good that did–they’ve reportedly increased by a couple grand a year since I’ve graduated.  Thanks (for nothing), (Premier) Dad!

Of course, McGuinty’s early exit has led to a fair bit of speculation that he’s in the running for the federal Liberal leadership.  After all, the Grits need a credible candidate to prop up Justin Trudeau and his Legion of Zombies.  But if they think they’ll win back Ontario with Dalton on deck, well, they’re sadly mistaken.  He might be a shoe-in for Minister of Broken Promises, but such an ignominious exit from provincial politics makes for one faulty springboard to the PMO.  (Remember the viral video of that gymnast slamming face-first into a pommel horse?  Yeah, that’s kinda how I see it…)  It’s not every day that I agree with the National Post, but their Michael Den Tandt said it best in a piece entitled Nothing could kill the federal Liberals faster than picking McGuinty as leader: “Dalton McGuinty? Really? They may as well drive bamboo shoots under their fingernails and poke sharpened sticks in their eyes. McGuinty as leader would take the federal party off life support — and flatline it.”

After all, you don’t see Jean Charest running for the federal Liberal leadership, do you?

COMMENT OF THE DAY: If the Toronto Sun had its way, October 15th would become a provincial holiday!

From: http://www.torontosun.com/2012/10/15/dalton-mcguinty-stepping-down-as-liberal-leader

Dalton McGuinty shocked the province when he announced his surprise resignation as Ontario Premier last night, in the midst of political scandal and unpopular belt-tightening policies.  On the Toronto Sun’s comments section, where Premier Dad is about as well-liked as an abusive stepfather, there was certainly cause for celebration—a whopping 737 comments’ worth!  Here are just a few remarks from the McQuitty Day revelers:

(Wait, did that guy seriously suggest Rob Ford as the next Premier of Ontario!?  Yikes…)

COMMENT OF THE DAY: How do you say Premier Dad in German?

From: http://www.torontosun.com/2012/09/12/apology-demanded-for-tory-mpp-mcdonell-comparing-mcgunity-government-to-nazi-regime

Suffice to say, Toronto Sun readers don’t really like Dalton McGuinty.  In another recent Sun story on the provincial deficit, one foaming fellow referred to him exclusively as “Dim bulb Dumbcunt” and “Dalton the douche.”  And then there’s this:

Gee, kinda makes MPP Jim McDonell’s original statement seem rather tame by comparison, eh?