Correcting corruption in Ontario.

It appears that the news media has detected a bad smell in the general area of Ontario’s seat of government at Queen’s Park. It is the smell of political corruption. We are told not to worry though as our Premier promises to fix it later this year.

Is that when she will have enough in the bank to get her through the next election?

And what is it she will fix? There is a lot that is wrong. Will she just lower the political donation limits to make life tougher for other parties? Will she stop allocating Cabinet colleagues fundraising quotas? Will she stop the obviously corrupt use of third-party advertising? Or will we get even deeper into what has gone wrong with Ontario politics?

With an open study, we might be able to do something about the way that Wynne manipulated the leadership race in her party to steal the position of premier. That would please the Conservatives who are disquieted over how the new Conservative leader stole his position.

What is surprising in this is that the political system in Ontario used to work fairly well. The costs of the political system were spread broadly across a healthy business sector and nobody was paying too much. The system only went south when the parties in power lost touch with the why they had got into power in the first place. They would get too complacent.

The only recent problem was when a tired McGuinty Liberal government was ready to be dumped in 2011, there was no logical replacement. Tim Hudak of the PCs and Andrea Horwath of the NDP had failed to connect with the voters. The situation did not improve much during the short minority Liberal government leading up to the 2014 general election.

Third-party advertising in 2014 made a substantial contribution to discrediting Conservative Leader Tim Hudak. He made sure of his loss when he made the desperation suggestion that he would fire 100,000 Ontario civil servants. After that election, he at least had the good grace to resign and a leadership contest was engaged. It is doubtful that his replacement is much of an upgrade.

But the measure of Premier Wynne will be the lengths she will go to fix the corrupt political practices in Ontario. One thing she could start with is to restore democracy to the Liberal Party of Ontario. Democracy in Ontario requires strong, democratic political parties.

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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