It is tough to be a liberal in Ontario these days. You get letters to add to your opinions. One frequent flyer with Babel-on-the-Bay wrote the other day to say that maybe I could start a letter writing campaign to entice the new leader of the provincial NDP to jump ship to the leadership of the Ontario liberals. That seems like a non-starter when I have already said that I lack enough information to decide if she could do the job for the NDP.
It reminds me of the career of Bob Rae. I have never been a fan of Mr. Rae. Between the liberal government of David Peterson (1985 to 1990), the NDP government of Bob Rae (1990 to 1995) and the conservative government of Mike Harris (1995 to 2002), I would have a tough time deciding which was the worst for Ontario. I think David Peterson’s was the most disappointing. Bob Rae’s was the most incompetent. And Mike Harris’ was the most malicious.
What really stunned me with Rae’s bunch at Queen’s Park was his listening to Thomas D’Aquino’s libertarian business council that continues, to this day, to think it has the right to direct our politicians. That business with Rae over what became the famous unpaid “Rae Days” of his regime came from D’Aquino marching into Queen’s Park and demanding that Rae and his poor bewildered treasurer balance the provincial budget. It was the worst possible advice, at the wrong time and it left Ontario in the incompetent hands of Mike Harris.
I had given guest lectures in most of the universities in Ontario in the 1970s. They were mostly to business classes and were on the social responsibility of business. If I had to give those lectures today to members of the business council, I think I would have to start with an analogy to the children’s book, The Three Little Pigs. The truth is that business was supposed to have given up the idea of telling governments how to run their operations with the demise of corporatism under the Italian Fascists.
There is no question but that business and government can work well together but it has to be clear to all concerned that the government is the boss. You always want politicians who have some experience other than politics. And you also want some experience in helping people—not just in telling them what to do.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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