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Friday, April 4, 2014

Fed up with Wynne’s Liberals?

The joke that masquerades as a functioning Ontario provincial government has now become stale. Quite simply, it’s time for a change at Queen’s Park.

True, the Liberals did win a four-year mandate in 2011, and so can legitimately continue in office until Oct. 1, 2015. But that election saw Dalton McGuinty at the helm not Kathleen Wynne. And support for McGuinty was tepid at best.

At dissolution in 2011, the McGuinty Liberals held 70 seats in the legislature. They lost 18 of those in the election—to fall below majority status—with popular support from only 37.65 per cent of voters. Furthermore, in the months since that election, the ruling Grits have slipped further to a mere 48 seats (one seat is empty) out of a total of  107, what with resignations and resulting by-elections.

Hardly a ringing endorsement.

After only a year into his third term, Dalton McGuinty resigned and prorogued the legislature, closing it down for four months to prevent a vote of non-confidence and to provide time for his Liberal party to hold a leadership race. An unprecedented use of prorogation. His sudden move likely saved Energy Minister Chris Bentley from being found in contempt of Parliament—he’d refused to hand over documents to a legislative committee investigating McGuinty’s decision to cancel power-plant projects to help gain votes in the 2011 election.

Kathleen Wynne has now been in office for over a year and nothing seems to have changed for the better. Which is not at all surprising since Wynne was very much part of the McGuinty team and was his co-chair in the 2011 general election—i.e., by all appearances, she was a McGuinty insider and pretty much continued with his cabinet team. If you don’t change the players, you’re not likely to change the game plan.

The Grits have ruled Ontario since 2003. We all remember that since that was the year McGuinty’s nose began to grow after he signed the notorious taxpayer’s protection pledge not to raise taxes. Since than we’ve had two of the largest tax increases—Health Premium tax and Harmonised Sales Tax—in Ontario’s history. Our government debt has more than doubled with budget deficits becoming the norm. And, of course, there have been the string of scandals.

Remember in 2007, when McGuinty forced Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Mike Colle to resign because he used a $32-million slush fund to give out grants to immigrant and cultural groups, including one especially egregious case the auditor general highlighted in which the Ontario Cricket Association received $1 million when it asked for $150,000. Priceless!

McGuinty agreed to commission a special report on the matter and Colle was to be investigated in committee. McGuinty prorogued the Legislature, however, preventing Colle’s testimony from going public.

There was the eHealth Ontario fiasco that mismanaged about $1-billion for which we received little or nothing of value. There was more bungling and mismanagement at Ontario Lottery and Gaming. And more recently we had the Ornge Air Ambulance scandal. Now we’re mired in the $1-billion + Gas Plant mess at Queen’s Park.

During the McGuinty-Wynne reign, Ontario’s economy has faltered and stuttered under sky-high energy costs and ever-growing government budgets and staggering government debt. Government workers, though, especially senior ones and consultants. have made out like bandits under the McGuinty-Wynne watch. (Have you seen the latest Sunshine List?)

Moreover, under Kathleen Wynne, nothing really seems to be changing, as evidenced by the recently leaked budget documents—more spending, more government debt …more, more, more.

I could go on all day, but this is too depressing.

To top things off, Kathleen Wynne now governs without moral authority. Whatever mandate she inherited from McGuinty has expired, at least, in a moral sense. It is time for her to seek her own mandate from the people.

If only NDP leader Andrea Horwath could screw up her courage and give Wynne a push out the door. But Horwath is owned by the trade unions and they love the Liberals who give in to their every wish.

Oh, well.

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