By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday October 22, 2015
Justin Trudeau owes Kathleen Wynne after election win
Endorse early, endorse often.
That’s how Kathleen Wynne turned the old political joke (“Vote early, vote often”) on its head. Except she wasn’t fooling around.
Long before Canadians settled on Justin Trudeau, well before any prime ministerial honeymoon, Ontario’s premier was an early adopter. And an enthusiastic endorser.
She showed him political love when he was running last, and showered him with praise when he was pulling ahead. Wynne went out on a limb by placing a big bet on the Liberal leader when few others saw his growth potential.
Wynne cheered him on, early on, at a Regent Park rally with a passion that seemed unseemly to critics. And she badmouthed NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair in an un-premier-like way when he was still well-placed to win the election.
The investment was not only personal but political — Wynne didn’t just stick out her own neck, she loaned out much of her provincial electoral machine: The vast majority of campaign managers for federal Liberal candidates emanated from the party’s provincial wing.
Now, the gamble has paid off. Wynne is the bearer of a monumental IOU.
So too are the Ontarians who voted massively for Trudeau at her behest. They are counting on her to collect in full on their behalf, and fully expecting his new government to deliver.
How big is that political debt? About $11 billion big, if you count the amount that Ottawa collects annually from Ontario taxpayers for distribution everywhere else through equalization and other social transfers for health and education.
But that fiscal imbalance, long an irritant at Queen’s Park, won’t evaporate overnight.
Ontarians have swung massively behind the federal Liberals in the past, only to be taken for granted when it came time for Ottawa to give the country’s biggest province its due. Former prime minister Jean Chrétien won virtually every seat in Ontario yet cheerfully shortchanged the province in the aftermath, because in Canadian politics the squeaky wheel gets the grease — and the squawky provinces get the regional largesse.
Wynne’s wish list for federal leadership is long: Pension reform, infrastructure investments, global warming, fiscal fairness, child care and pharmacare. (Continued: Toronto Star)