As the June 12 election inches ever closer, the Liberal campaign seems to have gotten so negative as to be considered, downright nasty. Could it be that this reflects the level of desperation among those at Grit party headquarters?
Much of what I read in the mainstream media these days seems written by Kathleen Wynne surrogates, whose objective seems to be to whitewash her record and drive a wedge between her and the Dalton McGuinty version of her party.
Spin as they try, though, they should not be allowed to succeed. Far from being a backbencher or caucus maverick, Wynne was a senior member of McGuinty’s cabinet and co-chair of the Liberal party’s 2011 general election campaign.
She was with McGuinty right from the start in 2003 when he pledged not to raise taxes and did do in spades. Furthermore, she remained with him through what has been described in the Huffington Post as “greed, corruption, scandal, mismanagement,” and “cronyism.”
Kathleen Wynne sat at McGuinty’s cabinet table day after day through times that saw her Liberal government waste an estimated $1-billion on eHealth, billions more on a much discredited flop of a green energy program, and callously made election promises—remember she was co-chair—that will cost hydro ratepayers and taxpayers another $1.1-billion.
Furthermore, her own cabinet is set to close a nearly $500-million deal to buy a glitzy office tower in Toronto to rescue an organization she seems to have picked for special treatment. Moreover, and perhaps most egregiously, there is the Ornge air ambulance scandal and mismanagement, which has actually cost the lives of Ontarians.
In Wynne’s own education portfolio in which she took so much pride, she opened up government vaults and offered teachers to take as much as they could carry before her boss, McGuinty, realized the province could afford no more of her largesse. At least McGuinty then tried to rein in teachers’ costs. But, once Wynne had won her party’s leadership, the vault doors swung wide again.
Earlier this month, former finance minister Dwight Duncan said, “Ontario is faced with a staggering debt.” He then called for the Government to “fundamentally re-evaluate its role.” Duncan was calling out the very government of which Wynne was and is a senior member—and he’s a Liberal.
And, as mentioned in a earlier article, the influential Moody’s Investors Service has warned that Ontario’s net debt in the 2014-15 fiscal year is 237.7 per cent of revenue, the highest in the country and above even Quebec, which is at only 189.5 per cent.
Furthermore, debt service charges (interest) is the province’s third-largest annual expense and one of its fastest growing expenditures.
Know that the same government of which Wynne was an integral part has left us near to economic ruin with staggering debt servicing charges that will explode if Moody’s does indeed lower our debt rating as it has warned might happen, or if the Bank of Canada raises interest rates, which is inevitable and just a matter of when.
And Wynne has no answers, no viable plans for the future. No economist in the land believes she’ll balance the budget as promised without serious austerity measures—spending cuts that’ll go deep or tax increases that will cripple economic recovery. Add to this the fact that Wynne has saddled herself with the least capable finance minister I’ve seen in Ontario, and that’s saying something for we’ve had a couple of duds.
Yes, the Wynne campaign has taken on a nasty edge. But we shouldn’t be surprised since, according to Liberal-insider Warren Kinsella of the QMI Agency, Wynne is advised “by the same inept gang who cooked up Paul Martin’s ‘soldiers in our streets’ [election] ads in 2006.”
That 2006 Liberal campaign was as mean-spirited a campaign as I can ever remember. Paul Martin was saddled with Jean Chrétien’s sponsorship scandal and so had no Liberal record on which he could run. With his Grits trailing in polls, Martin resorted to a storm of negative ads, attempting to depict Harper as an extreme right-wing politician.
Sound familiar? It should.
Same Liberal team, same intellectually flawed tactics.