Wednesday, February 20, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wynne’s policies remain ambiguous after Throne Speech

For three weeks, it was easy to overlook that Kathleen Wynne became Ontario’s Premier with a minimal policy mandate, emerging triumphant from a truncated leadership race that mostly dodged the tough questions about Ontario’s fiscal and economic troubles.

On Tuesday, in a Speech from the Throne that resembled a group hug more than a vision statement, it showed signs of catching up with her.

To the extent that the text carved out a different path from that of her predecessor, it was mostly in style. Ms. Wynne aims to be more open and inclusive, to listen to others’ ideas rather than ram her own down Ontarians’ throats, and that theme was driven home again and again in commitments to work more co-operatively with everyone from opposition parties to public sector unions. A vow to consult communities “from the beginning if there is going to be a gas plant or a casino or a wind plant or a quarry in their hometown” was something of a dig at Dalton McGuinty’s disinclination to do likewise.

On a few fronts, there were notable policy shifts as well. Ms. Wynne appears to be more passionate about upgrading the province’s lacklustre transportation infrastructure, and willing to consider road tolls to do so. She is also less reluctant about collecting more corporate tax revenue (possibly by doing away with existing credits) and more eager to make life better for social-assistance recipients – issues that could not only help her win support from the third party NDP, but also seem to fit her own value system.

But on the biggest issues, the ones that will inevitably consume much of her attention, her policies remain ambiguous. (Source: Globe & Mail)