When the Ontario Liberal Party elected former cabinet minister Kathleen Wynne at its leadership convention last weekend, delegates and party insiders chose to stay the course mapped out for them by retiring leader Dalton McGuinty. In other words, the Grits chose more of the same.
As a long-serving minister in McGuinty’s cabinet, Wynne worked closely with the Liberal team that has brought Ontario’s fiscal state to the point it is increasingly compared to that of jurisdictions like Greece. Her own finance minister, Dwight Duncan, recently characterized the province’s debt as a “ticking time bomb.”
Furthermore, by association, Wynne has been tainted by the scandals that have dogged the McGuinty government: think about the still-open sore of the Six Nations’ occupation of the Douglas Creek Estates at Caledonia; Auditor General Jim McCarter’s scathing report on the eHealth Ontario spending scandal where governments wasted about $1-billion in taxpayer money; and the 2011 financial scandal and police investigation at Ornge, formerly Ontario Air Ambulance.
Moreover, Wynne was a Liberal party campaign co-chair in the 2011 general election, and consequently she almost certainly was involved in the politically-motivated decisions to cancel two gas plants to save Liberals seats. The cancellations have, apparently, cost Ontario taxpayers at least $230-million, with some estimates topping $1-billion.
Notwithstanding the above, the Grits spent the weekend chastising Conservatives, Stephen Harper and Tim Hudak, and fêting Dalton McGuinty and his record. Federal leader Bob Rae’s speech at the convention, during which he blamed Harper, Mike Harris and Hudak for all of Ontario’s ills, was as shabby an example of intellectual dishonesty as I’ve heard in years.
Now some Grits are whining that Kathleen Wynne has been the subject of a Tory attack ad and wasn’t given some sort of honeymoon period to get settled in her new role. They—the Grits—can spend a weekend slagging off the Tories with lies and half-truths, but Tories must cut Wynne some slack? Forget that!