This was, ironically, a government elected out of protest and given an overwhelming majority to change the course of politics and governance in this province. It ran on principles like transparency, accountability, fairness. Out of arrogance and entitlement this government defiled each of these principles. So much so, that the Ontario Liberal election platform for 2007 is very straight forward. No mention of principles! Instead, go ruthlessly negative on the closest competition (John Tory), make sure you have the Toronto Star fully on board, go on a ridiculously obvious electioneering spree to buy as many votes as possible (from funding promises, to Highways of Heroes, to Family Day holiday promises), and finally ask voters to reward you because you haven’t been that horribly bad a government.
The arrogance of the Ontario Liberals, however, is also increasingly manifesting itself in the reckless disregard for the intelligence of the electorate. First, we must recognize that there is a self-serving complicity of governments in general in attempting to create a docile, uncritical citizen. In fact, this may well be one of the insidious functions performed unwittingly by our educational systems. Thus, to the extent that there is voter apathy in young voters, I’m sure the Ontario Liberals are not too troubled, since the non-participation of young voters only helps to ensure the continuation of the status quo.
Secondly, the Ontario Liberals have, like their federal counterparts, completely taken for granted the continued support of new Canadians, and, as we saw in SlushGate, were willing to bribe immigrant groups when they felt such support needed to be cemented.
Relying on voter cynicism and apathy, on traditional Liberal party identification in immigrant communities, and on vacuous electioneering may possibly yield results for the Liberals in the coming election, but it doesn’t change the fact that the electorate is being thoroughly scandalized by this government. Anyone who hasn’t become disengaged and alienated by the political system and who has the will and the luxury of time to follow these machinations can see how transparent and scurrilous are these manipulations of the electorate. A cautionary note: this does not always work. Think of Parkdale-High Park by-election 2006. Voters did not appreciate having their intelligence demeaned by gutter politics and bottom of the barrel smear tactics and they let Dalton McGuinty know that.
This leads me to the so thinly veiled manipulation of the electorate happening on Warren Kinsella’s blog. Truthfully, I have never understood why he has garnered the reputation he has. If there has ever been an overhyped pundit who has received way more credit than deserved, it is Warren Kinsella. He clearly is incapable of appealing to the intelligence of readers and thus focuses on the vulgar and emotional. But even as a political thug and an apologist of smear, he’s no Karl Rove.
Kinsella’s spin is transparent and obvious. His moves easy to anticipate. His disingenuousness insulting. For example, having engaged in a thorough attempt to discredit John Tory by attacking his character, by making fun of him, by maliciously misrepresenting him (not without the help of the media who seemed to enjoy a little too much ridiculing John Tory’s blunders) what could possibly happen next? You’d never have seen it coming: conservatives are frantically jumping ship. Not only are Red Tories joining the legions of McGuinty supporters but even the staunch right flank of the conservative party is so disillusioned that it’s willing to disavow their long held allegiance to the party and follow the Liberals.
How do we know all this? Because of two emails
proudly displayed on Kinsella’s blog from lifelong conservative supporters who have been won over by McGuinty and the Ontario Liberals. Incidentally one of the emails refers to the guile of the great Warren Kinsella who is again single handedly taking down another party leader. Mr. Kinsella if you were truly too humble to want to take credit for that flattery or shamelessly promote yourself, why didn’t you just not include the compliment in your post? And why does this have the stench of the thinly veiled Liberal plants often seen at all candidates meetings asking contrived questions to slant the debate one way or the other? This way of doing politics I find not only reprehensible but insulting. Insulting to the electorate at large, to intelligent Liberals, and to politics itself.