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? ;)