Dalton McGuinty’s Whig legacy.

Having listened to far too many tributes to the Premiership of Ontario’s Dalton McGuinty for the past week, we hasten to remind these fulsome polemists that the man is not even dead yet. All he has done has been listen to advice that it is time to quit. And he has.

But if you think Dalton’s legacy to Ontario is in the field of education, you have never heard of Egerton Ryerson. From the same time period as the political Whigs, Egerton Ryerson built one of the finest education systems in the world for Ontario. Full day kindergarten is also a good idea if we had only brought it into being when the province was a little more flush with the wherewithal. It seems it is Dalton’s timing that is lousy.

As a Liberal, we would be happy to write Dalton a letter of recommendation. It would be something like the classic that says: Dalton was leader of the Ontario Whigs for a long time. And when he left, we were pleased.

But let us not get hung up with the donut hole instead of the donut. Dalton McGuinty has left the Ontario Liberals at a time when there is a serious need for new leadership, new directions and new thinking. The days of McGuinty’s Whigs are long past. A new approach to Liberalism is needed.

We need to face the fact that Dalton McGuinty was keeping the Ontario Liberal Party in the same political track as Bill Davis—the last decent Progressive Conservative Premier of Ontario. The difference is there was little progressive about Dalton McGuinty.

Liberals need to take a long hard look around this province. We need a new leader who will not be tarred with Dalton’s Whig approach. We need a leader who is comfortable on the left of the political centre. We need a leader with ideas. We need a leader who understands that the job is to serve the people of Ontario.

That new leader is probably not at Queen’s Park today. He or she is probably on a city or regional council somewhere in Ontario. This person is bilingual and has been able to prove that they can bring new ideas and leadership to a council, work well with the public servants in the community and understand that leadership is not where you are going but where your followers need to go.

That person is out there. We need to find him or her.

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Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

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