What does a government do when it hasn't any coherent vision or principles?
It runs entirely on polling.
Because its only concern is re-election.
This is also the reason that none of us should be surprised at the recent turn to American style negative campaigning exhibited by the Ontario Liberals. Liberals are down 10-12% in Parkdale High Park by-election last fall with less than two weeks to go. What did they do?
Smear the leading candidate with some of the cheapest shots I've seen in politics. And not to be forgotten is that this was sanctioned by Premier McGuinty himself who dismissed it as the byproduct of a close political race. Worse still, Liberal hacks like Jason Cherniak and Liberal strategists like Warren Kinsella continue to operate under the assumption that dirty and sordid politics are effective. They actually took credit for minutely narrowing the gap in that by-election. Or more precious still, claimed that they were really the ones smeared in that campaign (as Cherniak did) and quibbled about how better to implement their fear mongering and negative tactics in the future.
Likewise, none of us should be surprised at Kinsella's choice to completely ignore the issues for the coming provincial election. His focus instead is on branding Tory as a clone of the evil Mike Harris and someone who personally advocates the views of crazy conservatives like Randy Hillier. Similarly when it comes to critiquing the NDP, Kinsella opts for hurling scurrilous charges of anti-Semitism at an NDP strategist and the NDP generally.
The last couple of weeks for the Ontario Liberal government have been marked by vote buying funding announcements (as if this government has any credibility remaining where its promises are concerned) and the talking out of both sides of its mouth (last week the city of Toronto told to get lost, today this government pledges to honour its 2003 promise to upload some of the download to help out cities). With this kind of electioneering, is there anyone who suspects that the Liberals were not already well aware that they were slipping in the polls?????
Cherniak's gushing over the surplus announced by the Ontario Liberals. He's a big fan of surplus budgeting. Of course he is, he's a Liberal. We all know how Liberals love surplus funds, especially year end funds which they can dole out to friends with no accounting controls, no paper trails, no accountability, only the hope the benefactors might remember their generosity come election time.
What's that sound that kept me awake all night? Oh yeah, it was Cricket! Cricket! Cricket!
By the way, Cherniak ridicules Howard Hampton's response to the "surprise" announcement of a surplus. I rather think Mr. Hampton has assessed the situation quite accurately. The Liberals are bribing Ontarians with their own tax dollars. According to Mr. Hampton:
“Across Ontario, people are waiting. Families are waiting in emergency rooms for the health care they need. The seniors who built this province are waiting for property tax relief that will let them stay in their homes. Children with autism are languishing on waiting lists for the care they need."
“All these people are waiting because Dalton McGuinty has turned his back on today’s working families. He said he would deliver change but hasn’t come through. He broke his promises."
“Today, I was deeply troubled to learn why Mr. McGuinty is making people wait. He did it so he could try to bribe people with their own money before an election. For four long years, Mr. McGuinty deliberately misled Ontario families about the province’s finances so he could use our tax dollars to finance a pre-election vote-buying spree."
“Mr. McGuinty got it wrong. New Democrats will make it right. We will deliver a fair deal for today’s working families. Instead of wasting your money on MPP pay raises, slush fund handouts and pre-election vote-buying sprees, we’ll deliver balanced budgets, fair taxes and investments that make a difference for people, like the fair deal for municipalities we announced this week that will mean lower property taxes, a two-year transit fare freeze and an end to service cuts.”