The economic answers in Ontario.

It was right there opposite the editorial in the Toronto Star today. It was the answers to all our economic questions. The bold headline read: Keys to unlocking the full force of Ontario’s economy. It was by Roger Martin, chair of the Ontario Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress. What became apparent in reading the article was that Toronto Star editors still write headlines without reading the content.

All the article reports is that nothing has changed in Ontario since Michael Harris was Premier. It provides a few insights into the factors causing stagnation in our provincial economy but there are no panaceas offered. A prolific business school writer, Martin spared us from the deeper insights reserved for those in academia.

What he should have noted was that for Ontario to find its way into the 21st Century is going to take leadership. Leadership is not something one normally equates with politics in Ontario. The standard answer to any question in this province is to create a task force to answer it.

Our current Premier learned the approach from her mentor Dalton McGuinty. With the sole exception of all-day kindergarten, McGuinty took us nowhere. His concern in ending coal-fired electrical generation is taking such a long time to resolve that it will end up being credited to his successor Kathleen Wynne.

The Leader of the Opposition in Ontario is usually just negative on anything from the Wynne government. He wants to create his own revolution. He says he wants to take on Ontario’s unions. He seems to look on governing as class warfare. His approach to leadership is to encourage conflict, urban versus rural, north versus south, city versus suburbs, rich versus poor. Luckily, he has a somewhat schizophrenic party behind him—and some of them are falling further and further behind.

Meanwhile Ontario’s New Democrats are acting as though they are leaderless. It is as though Andrea Horwath has to go to the Premier’s office to get the washroom key. It might be the only time she knows where she is going. She has yet to learn how to go about leading her caucus let alone the province.

With the province led by this group of misfits, there is not much point to having Roger Martin’s task force. Oh well, we need a laugh occasionally.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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