Premier Kathleen Wynne and PC Leader Patrick Brown. (Toronto Sun files)
I’m not sure champagne corks were popping in Premier Kathleen Wynne’s office last week as she nudged up 2% to 17% in popularity among Ontario voters.
That’s a full 10% behind the runner-up for last, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Premier Dwight Ball.
But not so long ago, Wynne was at a record-low-for-a-premier 12%. So, I guess that’s called progress – thanks largely to bribing the electorate with free university, free drugs, discounted energy, rent control and a huge hike in the minimum wage. And using public funds to shill for Liberal schemes through publicity which once had to pass the Auditor General’s “smell test” to make sure the government wasn’t using public funds for shear political ends. The Liberals got rid of that pesky little hurtle.
Shamefully, public coffers are now open for Liberal propaganda use under the guise of “informing” people of new programs.
A long list of Liberals have flocked from the LIberal caucus or have signalled that they’re about to, no doubt a sign of unrest with where the party is heading. Fallen former “star candidates” include Glen Murray, Madeleine Meilleur, David Orazietti, David Levac, Mario Sergio and Monte Kwinter.
They have either called it quits or won’t be running in the upcoming election in 8 months. Likely more will jump ship.
Apart from using publicly paid commercials to advertise Liberal pet projects, both Wynne and Deputy Premier Deb Matthews appear to be singing from the same song sheet in trying at every opportunity to paint Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown as Ontario’s version of U.S. President Donald Trump. It’s their amateurish way of defining the opposition leader before he gets to define himself.
Apart from being nasty, it’s complete nonsense. Since chosen as leader, Brown has continually and consistently emphasized the “progressive” side of the progressive conservative party.
Does he support the $15 minimum wage proposal? Yes, but give businesses a chance to adapt to it instead of rushing it through. Rent control? Yes, as well, but again not as stringent as what’s proposed.
Some would prefer MMA-style fisticuffs between the government and an opposition party. Sure, it’s more entertaining to watch, but governments of all stripes and levels are always urging opposition parties to suggest solutions and not oppose for the sake of opposing.
And that’s what they’re getting from the PCs in Ontario.
The notion of right and left-wing parties in Ontario has blurred to the point where the Liberals are all over the map. First wavering from governing from the right on selling public assets like Hydro One to then operating from left of the New Democratic Party on social issues. It’s an opportunistic government which has lost its compass and thirsts for power at all costs.
That’s what happens in an ongoing, 14-year-old government.
Pundits keep telling us not to underestimate Wynne’s campaign skills. How she took over former Premier’s Dalton McGuinty’s scandal-plagued government by turning a sow’s ear into a silk purse.
But Brown’s no pushover. He rose as an unknown back bencher in the federal parliament to challenge Ontario MPP Christine Elliott in the 2014 PC leadership race. Elliott had at least 19 out of the 28 caucus members behind her. Brown easily beat her.
Wynne underestimates Brown at her own peril.