In true Liberal style, Dalton McGuinty has back-pedaled.
Just days ago, when asked to comment on Greg Sorbara’s sudden retirement as an MPP, the Premier spoke about calling byelections in the ridings of Vaughan and Kitchener-Waterloo, and stated: “It would be unfair to plunge the province into two important byelections in the dog days of summer. Our minds are elsewhere. On precious family vacations, back to school days and all the other things that Ontario families do during the summer.”
Then (surprise! surprise!) a week or so later he announced that the two byelections would be held on Sept. 6th when voters can decide whether or not the Premier deserves the majority he so desperately craves.
Why the flip flop on a summer byelection? It’s all about messaging and who is able, during late summer, to spare the time to pay much attention. Will families be engaged? Will students? Will working people? The timing makes this unlikely.
Every election has a ballot-box question. McGuinty hopes the question will be simple. He will ask the following: Can we afford to have Ontario’s economic recovery threatened by an unstable minority government?
The same Premier (Dalton McGuinty) who took us through of past debacles like ORNGE, is in for a rude awakening. The answer to his ballot question is simple. We cannot afford more mismanagement, more lies and corruption. Half-baked ideas are like half baked pie. They look good but aren’t very good for you.
So what options do voters have?
The Conservatives will be ham fisted. Their election platform will call for cutting taxes, getting tough on crime, the benefits of trickle-down economics and crushing unions. Corporations will be featured as great job creators. What the Tim Hudak / Randy Hillier-style Tories don’t comprehend – or refuse to acknowledge – is that trickle-down economics never works. The sponges at the top soak up all the wealth while the majority of wealth producers (better known as workers) race to the bottom while fighting over remaining scraps.
There must be a different ballot box question from the one McGuinty desires. The question should test the political parties against principles like leadership and trust.
Ontarians in these two ridings where the byelections will be held, should ask themselves which political leader is trying to make minority government work. They should judge the political parties on past performances. They should compare which leader just cares about holding power and which one seeks to build a prosperous and just Ontario.
The answer, in my view, is clear. That leader is Andrea Horwath and the NDP.
Since being elected in 2011 as 1stVP/Treasurer, I can confirm a few things I always thought were important. Leadership is about doing what’s right. It’s about working for the collective as opposed to the individual. It’s about principles, values and action. It’s about moving everyone forward.
That is why I score Hudak and McGuinty low on these political requirements. The two of them are retail politicians, colourfully packaged so their product might get plucked from shelves by voters. They have no substance or credibility. Elections are not retail store shopping trips.
Perhaps Dalton McGuinty and party “bagman” Greg Sorbrara understand that they are in trouble. Perhaps this is why Sorbrara announced he will work on fundraising (a.k.a. election readiness) for the spring of 2013, when the Liberals are sure to engineer their own defeat in the legislature and trigger a general election.
September 6 is an important day for unionized and non-union working people across the province. It will be our chance to reject the banker-inspired dogma and corruption embraced by McGuinty and Hudak. It’s about giving voice to Ontario’s real wealth producers – its people.
I was taught that a person is only as good as their word. On Sept. 6 the choice is clear: the only leader and the only party that have kept their word to everyday, hardworking Ontarians is Andrea Horwath and the NDP.
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
First Vice-President/Treasurer, OPSEU