Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Grits shouldn’t count on Ford’s victory helping McGuinty in 2011

There are those who—like Liberal war room veteran Warren Kinsella—believe provincial Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty will benefit from Rob Ford’s victory in Toronto. Their reasoning seems to go something like: Ford will screw up and that will reflect negatively on all conservatives.

I see this more as wishful thinking than political analysis. The Ford victory was less a left vs right issue than it was a tax-spend vs prudent fiscal management one. I see two strong trends developing. Firstly, there are small “c” conservatives breaking ranks with both progressive parties and with the Conservative/PC parties to vote out of office those who have favoured big government and big budgets with tax increases to pay for both. Secondly, there seems to be emerging an anti-career politician trend, and none of the parties save the Bloc Québécois are immune from that.

The Bloc is a special case. It gets its mandate from Quebec voters who either believe Quebec should separate or should squeeze every penny it can from the rest of Canada and see the Bloc as the best way to achieve either or both of those ends.

But the Bloc may have troubles of its own with the emerging Quebec Freedom Network, a right-of-centre political party in Quebec. The party is unnamed and does not yet have a platform, but has made it clear it plans to focus on economic issues instead of separation, and that it is time to get away from “interventionist” government.

In 2007, the Action Démocratique du Québec, a provincial conservative party, won 41 seats and Official Opposition status, demonstrating a new conservative movement could resonate with Quebec voters. A strong conservative party in Quebec will be bad news for the incumbent Jean Charest Liberals, the federal Liberals, the Parti Québécois and the Bloc Québécois.

But I digress.

The flip side regarding Ford’s victory helping McGuinty is, of course, if Toronto doesn’t self-destruct in the next ten months, voters could decide the Provincial Legislature needs some of the same strong medicine. Should that be the case, let’s hope Tim Hudak can show that he’s the man who can administer it.


© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.


  1. It might not bode too well for Harper and the conmen either.

  2. Russ, I see labour strife - his promised contracting-out for example - leading inevitably to big problems. The province will then step in (as it did with Lastman and Miller) to clean up. That'll be a McGuinty win.

    If I'm wrong, I'll buy you a beer.

    Reverse true?

  3. I suspect that Ontario Liberals are nervous. There was clearly a push for Lib staffers to help Smitherman in the final hours. It didn't work. The bulk of Ont. Liberals wanted Smitherman to win.

    Judging from the reaction in Queen's Park in the last 48 hrs or so I'd say that the Libs. are sulking. The premier couldn't even be brought to congratulate the winner and only at minimum suggested that he's open for discussions etc.

    Glenn Murray is another problem. It would be appropriate to dismiss him as a pompous ass who has become what he hates (that is a narrow minded bigot) but we can't. He is in cabinet. The Libs have not started in a good footing.If this is how they choose to continue behave then Kinsella will be proven out to lunch on this one.

  4. Russ, if small gov't/big freedom fans like you and me created a network of volunteers that only supported like-minded politicians, we could have a big impact.

  5. You've nailed it, Warren. It's going to be very tough for Ford to manage/reconcile the pay rates demanded by City Hall unions with those expected by his supporters and with which he'll personally be comfortable.

    McGuinty may be able to take advantage of the resulting strife, but may find himself caught between the rock and the hard place as his government also needs to tighten its belt to lower the provincial deficit. If the feds, most provincial governments and many municipalities are winning voter approval with tough stands against public employee wage demands, McGuinty may choose to sit out the Toronto fight, if there is one.

    Sure, if Ford falls flat on his face, I'll buy you a beer.

  6. Jeff, I've already started, but don't expect Tea Party-like propaganda from me.

  7. Ford will not screw up, so Warren is about to hit the wall. (real conservative)