If Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty thinks he is going to just stir up labour unrest by savaging civil servant wages, he does not know the half of it. To even send the message to the people employed by the government that he is going to take money from them is a declaration of war. And he can expect no quarter. He will be savaged by the union members who supported the New Democrats and he will be equally savaged by the many union people who supported him in the last election.
McGuinty recently told an Ottawa audience that his “government will negotiate firmly to a result that keeps us on a sure and steady path to eliminate the deficit.” And, with that attitude, it will also be a sure and steady path to eliminate the Liberal Party of Ontario.
Yes, we joke about McGuinty and his pack as being Whigs—Liberals from 200 years ago. At the same time, we have to agree with many liberals who want to rebuild the provincial party. The difference is that we desperately need a liberal government in Ontario. We need a liberal party that will work for the rights of the individual in our society. That seems to be something that Whigs do not do.
We have no party working for us. This is serious. Hudak’s hooligans are not even conservatives. Their backbone is made up of mainly extremist Libertarians. Former Premier Bill Davis must wonder what happened to that civilized party he once represented. The New Democrats have some decent people involved but nobody wants a party that is under the thumb of the toughest of the labour unions.
There is wide-open space for a left-of-centre party in Ontario that could be liberal and here is McGuinty over in right-of-centre. His Whigs hardly fit the bill. Real liberals care about individual rights. Real liberals would do something about a Medicare that denies people the services of a family doctor.
Real liberals are not in Premier McGuinty’s wheelhouse. He thinks he has some God ordained role in paying off Ontario’s debt. Why is not clear. The people who voted for him last year had no such intention. They just wanted some decent, caring government instead of the Harris/Hudak rape and pillage style of government or a repeat of the fiasco of the Bob Rae NDP government of the 1990s.
It was not as though Ontario voters showed all that much confidence in Mr. McGuinty. Despite the loss of his majority, he is not in a bad situation. No party wants to rush back to the polls. Everyone would understand it if he just settled back and governed well for a few years. He could concentrate on fighting with Ottawa, not organized labour. He does not really have to impress us too much. If he could just stay out of trouble, keep his cabinet out of trouble and restore some confidence in his party, all could be forgiven. He could do it if he burns the Drummond Report and gets Treasurer Dwight Duncan a kindly, cherubic personality transplant.
Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry
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