Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday June 15, 2017
Today, some unsolicited advice to Ontario’s three political leaders.
In a Toronto Star interview, Kathleen Wynne warns of the dangers of electing a PC government. Say goodbye to a new minimum wage. Goodbye to pharmacare. Goodbye to new initiatives toward accessible, affordable child care. She may be right. But if the Liberals think they can improve their election chances by arguing why someone else is a worse choice, they’re wrong. The tactic has a tinge of desperation about it. A defensive strategy isn’t the answer, nor is political blackmail.
The Liberals have had 15 years in office. They have more than their share of baggage. But of late, they have been putting forward significant policy initiatives that are finding favour among voters. They have a vision for a more socially democratic Ontario. That’s what they ought to be marketing if they hope to get back into serious contention.
Brown’s PCs are playing rope-a-dope with the electorate. That’s the strategy boxing great Muhammad Ali employed to defeat George Foreman in 1974 — lie on the ropes, take the punches, wait until your opponent tires and then go on the offensive. The fact that Brown can do the same thing and still be far ahead in most opinion polls is a reflection of how unpopular the Liberals and Wynne are. But it’s not sustainable or appropriate for the man who would be premier.
Brown’s current advertising campaign shows him taking part in Pride events and doing other things to demonstrate how he’s leading a big-tent party as opposed to one tied to social conservative values. Good for him. But beyond that, he remains too much of an empty vessel.
We know he favours some form of carbon tax. But Brown’s policy on hydro? Nothing. Child care? Zilch. Pharmacare? Zero. Housing? Very little outside vague commitments to address supply, red tape, demand and establishing a panel of industry experts. Minimum wage? The government’s plan is too much too soon, Brown said, but nothing more.
Brown thinks all he has to do to win is not be Kathleen Wynne. He may yet be wrong about that.
Andrea Horwath went on a rant recently about the Liberals stealing NDP plans. No doubt she’s right. But rather than cry sour grapes, the NDP would be wise to announce their platform planks first, full out and in detail. State clearly what the NDP would do on issues like child care and minimum wage. Basically release platform planks before the Liberals can claim them. That’s what they did with their pharmacare vision, and as a result Ontarians have a clear decision to make about which model they like best. That’s the way it should work. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)