Ontario’s Liberal minority Parliament is hardly settled in and already Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak is threatening to pull the plug on them. Apparently, Dalton McGuinty “shot down” Mr. Hudak’s ideas for a public-sector wage freeze and a reformed apprenticeship system, and this triggered the threat and a fundraising letter to PC supporters calling for support.
From where I sit, this looks too much like an empty threat intended only to fire up the PC base and, perhaps, collect a few bucks for the party coffers. Unfortunately, it will take more than good ideas and brave words to defeat the Grits. On what topic and on what timing would there be a meeting of minds between the PCs and Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats?
If there is such an issue, it’ll have to be a bigger one than the charging of HST on home heating bills. Any such vote is not likely to be one of confidence in the government, so win or lose the Grits will remain in power.
And, frankly, I don’t see the Grits putting anything in their next couple of annual budgets that will give the opposition something to rally round and vote the Liberals down.
Furthermore, can any of the three parties really afford another election in the next 24 months or so? Surely they need at least that much time to build up their war chests. Though the thought of listening to these guys huffing and puffing at one another for the next two years is a dismal one.
My advice would be to sheathe sabres and dispense with the empty threats. Take the fight to the committee rooms at Queen’s Park, there to influence Liberal legislation as best as can be done.
Liberals will be in a bind:
On one hand they have to rein in spending or see the budget deficit grow out of control. That’ll be hard to sell in the next election. On the other hand, spending restraint will be tough for public sector unions to swallow and that might dampen their support for the Grits in a future return to the polls.
The Queen’s Park Liberals are a spent force; in 18 months, they’ll be wanting to do almost anything to stay in office. At that point, they’ll likely turn first to the Dippers for help, and the resulting compromise legislation will sink them in the next election—probably Oct. 2015.