How long should a politician wait before going back on a promise? About as long as it takes to be in a position to actually make good on the pledge—reality, it seems, has a way of interfering with promises made opportunistically.
So when, for example, we hear Ontario’s Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak participating in what amounts to partisan rhetoric regarding the harmonized sales tax (HST), wait awhile: time will tell if he plans to follow through with his anti-HST agenda, once he’s in power. Based on the Tory platform unveiled last weekend, the party plans do not contain much of the earlier promises to repeal/amend the HST. Big surprise, eh? Just empty partisan rhetoric!
Another example: earlier this year, a Hudak release said he would not abolish the health-care premium, but only four days later, the PC leader backtracked and said eliminating the tax was one of the options on the table. But, according to the PC’s “change-book” platform document, he’s again changed his mind and will not eliminate the health levy.
So, after years of banging on about the health tax—which brings in $3-billion a year—that Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government levied in 2004, only months after promising not to raise taxes, we now hear Hudak will not scrap the tax, once described as a greedy tax-grab that should be scrapped.
“Full-day kindergarten has challenges that need to be
- PC Ontario’s change-book
Then there is the all-day kindergarten file. Hudak voted against the kindergarten expansion, calling it a “frill” and a “shiny new car.” But guess what? Full-day kindergarten stays, “it would be a mistake to disrupt its implementation” Hudak says in his change-book.
After spending his career as leader opposing McGuinty initiatives, there doesn’t seem to be much Tim Hudak plans to change.
The PC leader is looking less and less like former PC premier Mike Harris, who made commitments and stuck by them, and more and more like his adversary Dalton McGuinty, who seems to have broken every promise he’s ever made to the people of Ontario. What a choice!
There is no doubt that Ontario has not fared well under Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal rule and we need change/relief in October, and I do plan to give Tim Hudak my vote. But I wish I had more positive reasons for doing so.