As someone who takes language very seriously, I thought I should defend my use of the term nefarious to describe this Liberal government. This government was not only largely ineffectual. Worse, it was recklessly arrogant, unscrupulous, dishonest, and at times utterly reprehensible. This government was elected to bring in sweeping change. It was given, under the current electoral system, what amounted to absolute power at Queen’s Park and it was accompanied, for the most part, by a very buoyant and robust economy. Moreover, the overwhelming majority with which this government was entrusted only led to the most acrimonious and inhospitable parliament I’ve witnessed. Queen’s Park was permeated with a sense of entitlement and arrogance that only absolute power can create. Question period has become a complete circus (those who argue against MMP because it would undermine the consensus that happens under First Past the Post should recognize that currently we have the most divisive and pettily partisan legislatures imaginable).
And when we look back at this government’s record we see that little has changed in four years and we see a government that even in the twilight of its mandate continues to refuse to take responsibility and to be accountable for its failure to deliver. Since, it cannot stand on its record, this government must repeatedly attack, fear monger, and blame previous governments. For all of this, McGuinty’s Liberals should not be rewarded .
So let’s begin…
Least on my list of reprehensible actions taken by McGuinty is the fact of his having “broken promises”. And for me, the worst broken promise was the failure to close down coal-fuelled power generating plants, most notably Nanticoke. It was disingenuous to promise to close down those plants. Even worse, it was irresponsible to wait until the election year to begin to show signs of being interested in energy conservation and renewable energy. And now, all this government has in store for us is massive investment in nuclear energy. As sad as it is, the air quality today in Ontario would have been better had the Conservatives remained in power, since at the very least it is likely they would have added scrubbers to those plants, plants which will be open for at least another seven years.
On the subject of McGuinty’s breaking his pledge not to raise taxes. I’ve posted some thoughts on the health “levy”
. I’ll simply add that far worse than increasing my taxes, was the regressive type of tax he imposed and that McGuinty expected me to believe that he was caught completely unawares by the deficit left to him by the Conservatives. Again, it was not his breaking of the promise in itself but his contempt for the intelligence of the electorate by promising it in the first place.
Moving on, I also find it insulting when McGuinty attempts to sell the party as anything other than a brokerage party, one that has replaced any kind of ideological core with opportunism and a win at all costs mentality. We are to believe that Liberals are an alternative to fear mongering, nasty Conservatives. Liberals, by contrast, are nice and friendly and McGuinty stands for principles like fairness and accountability. Quite the contrary. This is a party that hires henchmen like Kinsella to shape its strategy and spin its misinformation. It is a party committed to negative campaigning, often negative campaigning in the extreme.
I need only point to last year’s by-election in Parkdale High Park and the malicious attacks on MPP Cheri DiNovo. See here
, and here
If this weren’t enough, where the Ontario Liberals, in my mind, become even more contemptible is in their feigning concern for poverty, for ethnic and new Canadians and, even for democracy itself. We all know this is a brokerage party that is ultimately beholden to the rich. Not surprisingly, then, the Liberal government’s record on tackling poverty, whether we’re talking child poverty
, affordable housing, minimum wage, or the “poverty budget”
, is deceptive and appalling. SlushGate
was not only an affront to transparency and accountability, but also a manipulation of ethnic Canadians
. Similarly, can we see this government’s initiatives for democratic renewal, most notably, its actions around the referendum on electoral reform, as anything but a pretense to democracy?
Lastly, there were in particular two incidents which I consider especially egregious. First, diverting millions of dollars in legal fees to fight parents of autistic children
. This was quite widely reported.
Second, and something very few people are even aware of, this government had the audacity to manipulate virtually every firefighter in this province into thinking that it is the Ontario Liberals to whom they should be grateful for having easier access to compensation for job related diseases. In a very carefully staged performance and with great fanfare, the Ontario Liberals paraded firefighters into the legislature to announce the legislation they were about to introduce. With shameless gall, the Liberals quickly escorted the firefighters out before the opposition could speak to the bill, for had they stayed any longer they would have discovered that it is to the tireless efforts of Andrea Horwath
that they truly owe their gratitude.
That Andrea Horwath wasn’t given the least bit of credit from the Ontario Liberals was one of the most callous and self-serving moments I’ve witnessed in politics. Many firefighters will vote for the Ontario Liberals on Oct. 10 and few of them will know how they were completely hoodwinked by the government they’re supporting.