From today's Toronto Sun:
September 2, 2007
Dalton, this is not governing
By Rob Granatstein
Who do the Ontario Liberals think they're fooling?
Everywhere you look, there's the smiling puss of Premier Dalton McGuinty -- or is it just dalton.ca -- in full election mode.
He's rolling out a $12-billion transit plan. He's planting $79 million worth of trees for a greener Ontario. He's tossing $182 million into the education system. He's hiring an additional 200 police officers. He's equipping the OPP with a new plane. He's throwing $700 million at seniors. He's bowling $1 million into the kitty for cricket.
Oops, strike that last one from the record.
Still, any way you look at it, McGuinty and the Liberals are into their finest hour of governing. That hour where they get to spend money like water, buying votes, tossing dreams and ideas around like pixie dust.
Where's yours? Oh, it's coming. The Liberals have a big surplus and they're not afraid to spend it. The Tories peg this pre-election spending spree at $26 billion.
But enough with the charade. This is not governing, Dalton. Stop making like it is.
Proclaiming that these mega-bucks have gone through the Treasury Board and have been approved by cabinet just adds to the farce. We don't recall seeing any of these gifts wrapped into the last budget.
Let's call it what it is -- electioneering.
Why? Look at the so-called uploading of costs from the cities, announced recently. There's about $200 million for 2008. McGuinty announced it at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario meeting this past month, calling it government policy, and not a campaign promise.
Unless, of course, the Liberals don't get re-elected.
In the past there's been a little cloud cover over this tactic. With a fixed election date, the spending is nothing but a crystal clear vote buy.
But wait, there's more. Go to any Ontario ministry's website and you'll see Dalton's smiling face, with the tagline "Getting results." Aren't ministries supposed to be non-partisan?
The only shock is clicking on McGuinty's mug doesn't throw you directly to the Liberal campaign site, or the aforementioned dalton.ca.
The Ontario ministry of health has dapper Dalton next to headlines about reducing wait times, getting better access to doctors and nurses, and how the governing party is keeping Ontarians healthy.
Funny, no mention of how we're paying more with the Health Premium -- the broken promise tax. We say "so called" because it sure doesn't seem like we're waiting less for care. In fact, Ontario's auditor called the wait times claims by the government "a bit misleading."
That wording has quite a ring to it.
Well, we're ready for the governing to end. We are ready for the real campaign to begin. For the Liberals to promise -- like the party did with such gusto in the last election -- rather than govern. With one week until the writ drops, it's time for Dalton to put the power stick away.
Or it's time for Ontarians to stick it to him.