Saturday, January 25, 2014

Scraping the grease off the skids under Ontario’s economy

The upcoming by-elections in February is a chance for, at least, a few Ontario voters to tell Premier Kathleen Wynne they are “fed up and won’t take it anymore.” [Apologies to the 1976 movie, Network.] No more scandals like eHealth, ORNGE Air Ambulance and the power plant fiasco. Or the recent billion-dollar waste due to poor electricity planning.

No more pandering to public sector unions and playing footsy under the bargaining table with teachers’ unions. It’s time for our politicians to man-up and provide the responsible leadership needed to get us out of the current fiscal mess.

There is a formula for turning the province around, of course, but it would take the sort of political will  and courage that is beyond the governing Liberals and, perhaps, the current leadership of the Progressive Conservatives. I won’t even bother to mention the New Democrats as the cornerstone of their support plays a major role in the problem and no positive part whatever in the solution. The NDP are, after all, the “useful idiots” of the trade union movement.

There is no secret here; others have faced similar situations—a critically ill economy—and found a cure. Margaret Thatcher rescued the United Kingdom from the brink of an economic cliff and brought  prosperity back to that nation in the 1980s. And, of course, Mike Harris did something similar for Ontario in the 1990s.

Yes, their medicines were bitter; effective medications often are. Yet, even after doing in office what they had promised on the campaign trail, the electorate voted for them in subsequent elections. Thatcher ended up as the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century and Harris won a second term as a majority government.

More recently, we have Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and other governors in nearby American states who are also faced with similar economic woes. Scott Walker (I was reminded recently by the blog at is an interesting example. Here’s part of the comment I left there:

Apparently, [Rep. Gov. Scott] Walker is the only governor in U.S. history to win in a gubernatorial recall election—despite a vile smear campaign against him—so it seems voters support his hard stand on state and local government workers’ healthcare plans and pensions, and his public sector union reforms, which have transformed the state’s finances and avoided a Greece-like fate.”

Tim Hudak and his team can take heart from this. Right of Centre, common sense fiscal policies are often embraced by the public at large. Former Liberal finance minister Paul Martin’s slashing of the federal government’s expenditures to balance its budget helped his boss Jean Chrétien rack up a trio of majority terms in the mid 1990s through the mid-2000s, and budget-slashing is more conservative than progressive in nature.

One thing that stands out to me was the brick wall-like opposition those conservative (and conservative-minded) leaders faced from labour unions. And the same sort of opposition, mainly entrenched union interests, is gearing up to oppose any effort by Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak to right the sinking ship that is Ontario’s economy. (See Sandy’s warning here.)

Among Hudak’s ideas is to bring in “right-to-work” legislation. It’s helped other jurisdictions to improve their economies, but anything that impacts unions’ strangle hold on our public sector must be opposed by the likes of Sid Ryan. And the rest of us be damned!

“Margaret Thatcher brought in right-to-work legislation in the United Kingdom 30 years ago and unions are still thriving there,” the Sun’s Christina Blizzard reminds us. But still the Ontario Federation of Labour president Sid Ryan spreads his fear mongering.

Former Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty tried to go head-to-head with our law-unto-themselves public sector and teachers’ unions and lost, miserable. He then did the honourable thing and quit his job, leaving Kathleen Wynne to manage through his economic (and ethical) mess. Unfortunately, Wynne’s government seems even more committed to—and beholden to—those very same unions, leaving our only hope resting with Tim Hudak and his PC team.

Right-to-work is necessary if we are to wrestle control of our economic future from the greedy talons of the public sector unions and their enablers. Make no mistake about it. And right-to-work has been sold to other North American voters who are not so very different from Ontarians.

Solutions are abundantly clear for all to see—all who have open minds, that is. What we need is the courage to elect those who, themselves, will have the courage to implement those solutions.


  1. I'll take the "right to work" ahead of the "right to strike" anytime. We do not want to devolve into a Greece-like state (province) here either; nor do we want the greasy residue of a deceptive Liberal regime to further slide our economy toward a precipice of disaster. Kudos to common-sense government examples of the past, and a party with the courage to implement a fresh vision for the benefit of Ontario today.

  2. Wisconsin in the U.S. has shown the way to budgetary sanity. check it out. unemployment down to about 6.7% and a budget surplus of over 900 million and tax reduction about to happen.