We're well into the Ontario Election. The minority Liberal government lasted two and a half years, a long time by any standard. The discourse among non Tim Hudak supporters has been to stop him. The oft named progressives are being sought after by both the Liberals and the NDP. That's where I begin...
In the quest for the elusive progressive voter the Liberals are championing their budget. Some are even calling the budget more NDP than the NDP. That's the Liberal narrative to date and one that has been proffered by Toronto Star columnists and not a few union brothers and sisters. For some the thought is that the budget was progressive and defeating it would lead to a Tim Hudak win. In fact this is the Liberals entire campaign in a nutshell.
Andrea Horwath has been the Liberals biggest concern. Her questions during Question Period hurt the most. Her demands for accountability grind on Liberal nerves. Horwath's statements on making life more affordable hurt because they're true. In fact, Andrea Horwath has pretty much been the most popular politician in the province the last eighteen months.
In February the Liberals number one concern was the NDP according to leaked election planning documents. Liberal support was vulnerable if Horwath could translate personal popularity to the NDP.
You may be surprised to know that the Liberals have these past 18 months avoided referring to Andrea Horwath by name, while attacking the Conservatives by their leaders name. That was a strategy, to prevent alienating voters who liked Horwath. It seems however with one Liberal attack ad naming Horwath and another leaflet being dropped by Liberals, they have abandoned that strategy. It's a risk, but hey, the Liberals are running scared now.
So far the fear of Hudak winning an election has been the reason behind demands that the NDP and Andrea Horwath support the Liberals budget. It's an NDP budget after all, at least that is what we are supposed to accept, the Liberals put in lots of 'NDP' stuff to garner support for the budget. Now we need to have a look at a few things. First Kathleen Wynne did not bring the NDP in to assist in drafting the budget. In fact she at many times said she wasn't going to suffer any direction from the leader of the third party. The budget is vague on details, there was no debate on those details because Wynne ended that, choosing to leave the details hidden and called the election before one word of debate.
To be fair there was much to like about the budget, that is however not the budget the Liberals will have if they win.
The Liberals were sinking fast. They should have called an election soon after Wynne became Premier. They have suffered from a thousand cuts, lost a sitting Premier and were mired in a never ending gas-plant scandal, not to mention multiple others. They were so bereft of ideas, they started rewriting NDP private members bills and passing them, having in some cases only months before refused the NDP bills.
The election had to be now as far as Liberals were concerned. As a minority, they couldn't control the agenda. More cuts would be had. Go now, hope to hell they can win at least another minority, then another election in a year for all the marbles.
Andrea Horwath tried to work with the Liberals. People in Ontario did not want an election after the last one so soon. Horwath did what she could to get improvements in the budget. Things like a tax on those earning over $500,000, childcare expansion, a youth jobs plan. Last year Horwath asked for a Financial Accountability Officer, Lower Auto Insurance rates and a 5 day guarantee for homecare for seniors. None of it happened. We're still waiting.
The Liberals had three promises to keep. They didn't keep any of them. And now people want Andrea Horwath to believe 70 promises?
Next blog post: Andrea Horwath: What's going on?