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More dismal Ontario Liberal stuff, & best of luck to the new G-G

First thing to catch my eye is more stuff to do with Ontario’s premier and the Ontario Liberals.

If it appears I’m dumping on Dalton Mcguinty and his party these past two weeks, he and they have made it rather easy for me to do so. Here are a couple more examples of silliness on his government’s part (or perhaps his communications office’s part) that’s going to bring him grief.

The first example is how he and the Ontario government (mis)handled the “eco-Fee” described  in the Toronto Star’s editorial this morning. I’ve no objection with it in principle; in fact, I think the idea itself is defensible – even laudable, for what it attempts to do in promoting recycling of dangerous products. The problem is that like the police regulations during the G8/G20, the Ontario government decided to bring this in quietly without explanation to anyone.  In this case, the quiet was around that a fee (some would say tax) would be applied. The Ontario government has thus given its opposition parties a free issue to cause them damage with, which could ultimately damage the very laudable recycling program they’ve set up. The strategy here seems to be whenever a potentially controversial idea comes along the Ontario Liberal government feels it has to do, it decides to try and back-door it rather then vigorously defend it,  unless it has no choice (ie the HST, or if it gets exposed in the media). Quite bluntly, I think it’s a stupid strategy.

The 2nd thing is this – again, courtesy of a caucus leak to the Toronto Star – the 2nd in as many days:

Premier Dalton McGuinty is taking heat over a drastic cut in the subsidy for farmers who generate solar power, which some Liberals fear could cause an eclipse of the party’s rural seats. Government insiders warn as many as a dozen Liberal seats could be in play due to what is shaping up as an urban-rural schism—and that could mean the difference between winning and losing the October 2011 election.

One Grit MPP said would-be solar entrepreneurs are calling MPPs at their homes, day and night, to vent their furor at what they see as a betrayal of a promise. “We’re just getting the s— beaten out of us,” complained another on Thursday. During Wednesday’s Liberal caucus meeting, MPPs—who spoke to the Star on condition of anonymity because the session was in camera—pleaded with McGuinty to reconsider.

“This is a slap in the face to rural Ontario,” fumed one member.

“You’re just going to have to wear this,” the premier told his stunned caucus in the tense, three-hour, closed-door session, according to eyewitnesses. “And I’m going to have to wear it, too,” McGuinty quickly added, after apparently reading the dismay on MPPs’ faces.

The problem here is not only a promise broken to those rural farmers and folks who invested in solar power, but the fact that the original rate to urban users of solar power remained unchanged. You either have to leave the rate as is, or if you feel like you’re forced into breaking a promise, you have to break it equally to all, and not even appear you’re discriminating against a certain region.

Not a very good couple of weeks for Dalton McGuinty and his Liberals, and I can’t say I’m very sympathetic.


On another matter today, you might remember in a blogpost the past week that I expressed scepticism that Prime Minister Harper would pick someone that didn’t have an overly partisan bias towards Conservative viewpoints. I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised with David Johnston being his pick. There are some folks I’ve seen who remind people that Johnston worked for the Harper government and made sure the Oliphant Inquiry couldn’t assign blame while it was looking into the Mulroney/Schreiber affair, but overall, Harper could have done worse, and Johnston is known as a constitutional expert, which the G-G will probably need if things continue on as they have been, so I can’t say I’m unhappy with the pick. Good luck to him.


4 comments to More dismal Ontario Liberal stuff, & best of luck to the new G-G

  • john

    Why on earth do we need a new bureaucracy to recyle spray cans? Ar they going to be as successful as the tire recycling initiative for which a tax was imposed as well?

  • Anon ABC

    Scott: Just had a quick look at Dr. Johnston’s CV. Where did you see evidence that he is a constitutional expert?

    The closest thing to it that I saw was that he was on an Advisory Committee for Constitutional matters in 1992, however, it is not clear (to me at least) that appointment was based more on political considerations. BM was PM until mid-1993 so a cynic could say that it was the Cons connection.

    Johnston himself does not list this area as an academic specialization and neither do I see any evidence of it in his academic, peer-reviewed publications. Here is the link:

    It is possible that the CV is not complete/ updated or I might have missed something relevant. However, it is possible that his expertise in constitutional matters/law is just PMO spin.

  • Anon ABC

    So Harper has appointed a “Just Visiting GG” from Harvard? LOL

    If I understand you correctly, Scott, you seem to be saying that Johnston doesn’t have an overly partisan bias towards Cons viewpoints. I think that remains to be seen.

    What is already obvious is that he had buried the interests of many voters who wanted to know whether there were indeed any truth to the allegations of kickbacks in the Airbus affair. Not a good thing.

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