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Sunday, October 19, 2014

A depressing time for Ontario politics

Ontario had a rough summer. Many of us are still feeling the effects of the hangover from the June 2014 election that shamefully saw Kathleen Wynne's Liberals re-elected with a majority government.

Ontarians were quickly thanked for their support of the scandal-plagued Liberals: almost 34,000 more Ontarians found themselves out of work in June. Then some of the jobs returned but the unemployment rate remained the same; and finally the rest of the jobs and unemployment rate recovered. Combined with Moody's negative debt rating outlook for the province, it's a sign of a volatile economy due to the Liberals' reckless tax-and-spend priorities.

As well, Ontario's debt is getting dangerously close to hitting $300 billion – or almost $22,000 for every man, woman, and child. Wynne's Liberals seem unphased. That debt is growing by almost $60 million per day, and that's not including the $10 billion we're spending on interest every year.

But with the Liberals largely taking the summer off to celebrate (who needs to watch the economy anyway?), party politics in Ontario's Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats took centre stage.

The Ontario PCs began rebuilding the party that was once Ontario's go-to choice for responsible government, reasonable spending, and real leadership. The Ontario PCs led Ontario for the majority of the 20th century, but have been unable to re-capture the Premier's office since Dalton McGuinty was elected in 2003.

With the official launch of Lisa Macleod's campaign on October 19, a total of five candidates have put their names forward: Patrick Brown, Christine Elliott, Vic Fedeli, and Monte McNaughton are all vying for the leadership position that will hold the Liberals to account and return Ontario's naturally-governing party to power. Each will have their policies and merits tested in the lead up to the May 2015 leadership convention.

The third-placed New Democrats have had a much quieter summer, although Andrea Horwath has faced calls to resign over her “moderate” spring campaign that turned off hard left-wing voters.

And what of Ontario's governing party for the next four years?

Kathleen Wynne's Liberals have certainly been the quietest of the parties, which is probably for the best considering that seemingly every time Kathleen Wynne speaks it's to call in the police to investigate her own government or to announce yet another state-run tax grab.

However, we've still heard plenty that confirms Wynne's Liberals are interested in nothing more than continuing the scandal-ridden legacy that started with Dalton McGuinty:

  • The MaRS scandal is set to turn into the next gas plant scandal with revelations that the Liberals changed the rules so they could loan the failing company a quarter of a billion dollars. And when the company failed, we (us taxpayers) bought the company for $308 million.
  • We also quietly gave Metrolinx employees an 8.45 percent pay raise over four years – conveniently just days before the election in a clear sign that the Liberals were shoring up as many votes as possible with taxpayers' money.
  • Ontarians are just three years away from having to pay the Liberals' new pay roll tax, which will cost each person up to $2500 and kill 150,000 jobs.
  • The OPP are still investigating the Liberals' alleged cover up of the $1 billion gas plant scandal and the Ornge scandal.

Ontarians deserve better. But since we elected the Liberals for what is already promising to be yet another scandal-plagued term, we're in for the long haul.