Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Kinsella's Feeble Defence of McGuinty

Reading Warren Kinsella’s defence of the McGuinty government is much like watching Tie Domi skate and stickhandle at the same time. It’s awkward, unnatural and quite hilarious. No wonder Kinsella has resorted to being a goon in his political punditry. Now, arguably every team needs a mindless thug like Kinsella, but only as long as he sticks to being a mindless thug. Otherwise he becomes a detriment to the cause, and thankfully Kinsella seems only too happy to oblige. This is a pitiful defence of McGuinty. About the only thing Kinsella got right was that it will be a tight race.

In his “musings”, Kinsella argues that “Dalton McGuinty is going to be re-elected in Ontario because he most resembles the people who live and work here. And because, at the end of the day, they like him and the job he’s doing.” Essentially, McGuinty is an unassuming, modest, ordinary, Tim Horton coffee drinking, nice guy that resonates with the average Ontarian. Perhaps if McGuinty finds himself out of work in the fall, he’ll begin to resemble Ontarians. But until then give me a break!

McGuinty is leader of one of the most nefarious, arrogant and smug governments I’ve witnessed. He’s vain and ruthlessly competitive. This is the Premier who not only didn’t reprimand the office of the Minister of Government Services (Gerry Phillips) for using tax payers’ money to run a smear campaign against MPP Cheri DiNovo, but he, in fact, publicly endorsed it.

Ordinary, regular Canadian? Uh, don’t think so. McGuinty grew up in a wealthy neighbourhood, son of a professor and politician and nurse. He was raised in pretty privileged circumstances, became a lawyer… Even if he dons a hockey jersey from time to time, McGuinty is certainly no everyman, but in typical unprincipled Liberal fashion tries to be everything to everyone, and in the process ends up being no one. This Premier is renowned for his useless photo-ops (recently with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bo Derek), jet setting around the province in government planes, doling out slush funds to buy back the immigrant vote, and smugly refusing to be held accountable or responsible for anything.

According to Kinsella, the secret to McGuinty’s success: “Undersell what you’re doing, then overperform.” This was the howler in the piece. Nothing could be further from the truth with this government. First, this government has gone back so often on its word that no one knows what it’s selling. It's got some ideas over here and if you don't like those, it has some other ones over there.

But more reprehensible and shameful is that for four years Ontarians had a government with virtually unlimited power in a favourable economy which could have made a real positive difference, but instead did nothing but blame the previous governments and ask for our patience. The Liberals were quite prepared to ram through things that favoured themselves or their friends, like a 31% pay raise or a $40 billion nuclear power project, but they were missing in action on poverty, on housing, on the environment, and on education- even though to hear them tell it it’s completely another story. Fact is, this government not only didn’t overperform, it didn’t perform at all.

Even if the Liberal government didn’t have such a sterling record, Kinsella maintains that at least this Ontario is not the same Ontario we had under Conservative governments and that the status quo will be enough for Ontarians. “You hear that? That’s the sound of social peace. No rioting at Queen’s Park. No people being shot to death for protesting in a provincial park. No welfare Moms being left to die alone in sweltering apartments. Jobs are up, unemployment is down, people feel good.”

When did Kinsella go on prozac? The environment desperately needs to be aggressively addressed, even if as some have said it's too late. This province is on the precipice of a major economic catastrophe, it’s manufacturing sector is disappearing and in its stead has appeared some precarious, casual employment (McGuinty loves to tout the jobs he’s created, but fails to point out that most of those hardly qualify as jobs. They are low paying, temporary, dead end, without benefits…). The poverty and lack of affordable housing in this province is appalling. I’m not sure that people are feeling that good. I see a lot of trepidation and nervousness from homeowners with new mortgages worried about property taxes and interest rates to the working poor, many of whom work several jobs and still can’t make ends meet.

Again, at what point does a government become responsible for its own mandate? Taking shots at the previous Conservative governments might be acceptable early in a mandate, but at the end of that mandate if that government can still only pass on the blame, it should not be rewarded with another term. Period!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Even "Doublespeak" from Premier Won't Save Ontario Liberals

Thought I would untangle some of Dalton McGuinty's doublespeak and translate today's Star article where Dalton McGuinty declares full confidence in Ontario Liberals as Ontario heads towards a fall provincial election.

Actually it begins right there with the word "confidence". The Ontario Liberals have had a disastrous year running up to the election marked by key by-election losses, scandals like LottoGate and SlushGate, lingering criticism over failure to be transparent and accountable, and on and on. From the HydroOne to the Children’s Aid Society fiasco through to ramming through a $40 billion mega nuclear power plant without environmental assessment. Then there's the whole 31% pay raise passed in eight days while selling out the working poor of this province. In fact one of the finest examples of doublespeak this year was Sorbara's calling the 2007 Budget a "poverty" budget.

Fact is the Ontario Liberals are on a sinking ship. Everything that could go wrong has been going wrong, including the woeful irony in which one day following our environment Minister's assurance that the Liberals are doing everything they can regarding lead contamination in Ontario's drinking water, unacceptable levels of lead surface at Queen's Park itself. Just watching the government's behaviour and body language in the Legislature signals that rather than confident, this band of thugs is shaken, resentful and full of trepidation. Even a cursory look at recent polls suggests the Ontario Liberals have very good reason to be worried.

Other examples of Dalton doublespeak:

"In some ways, you might argue that we're victims of our own managerial competence."

Translation: Our managerial arrogance and incompetence, our lack of transparency, and our unwillingness to be accountable as promised and displayed in the management of HydroOne, the Children’s Aid Society, OLG, year end slush funds, needless and extravagant expenditures like Dalton's hollywood style flying habits or spending millions to change the trillium logo across the province will lead to the demise of this government.

"[Liberals’] determination to call upon the best in all Ontarians, to bring them together and to overcome our challenges together… Nobody knows better how to bring people together and call upon what I call that spark of nobility that's found in people."

Translation: Through divisive negative campaigning, dirty electioneering, and running what the media described as some of the worst smear campaigns (notably Parkdale-High Park by-election last Fall which Dalton publicly endorsed), or more briefly, through intimidation and slush funds, the Liberals will prey on Ontarians worst fears and corruptibility to try to form another government.