Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Ontario Election: Voters will likely elect a Conservative minority choosing from the bland options before them. That means a replay of this election in two years.

Angela Horwath, Tim Hudak and Kathleen Wynne all want our vote 
without showing any real leadership for Ontario's future.

The Ontario Election: voting for the bland, the blander and most bland option. 

A move to the right is possible but only held in check by the NDP keeping a Conservative minority government on a short leash.

by Tom Thorne

On the eve of the 2014 Ontario Provincial Election it looks as if we are moving towards another minority government of some kind. The electorate may change from Liberal to Conservatives mostly for a change mainly because  Liberals have been in office for 11 years and they are looking tired.  

Many polls show a dead heat. This of course will leave Angela Horwath's New Democrats with the balance of power again whether the Liberals or Conservatives form the new government. That also means in two years or so we will probably return to the polls.

Kathleen Wynne is wearing the perceived negative excesses of her predecessor Dalton McGuinty. It's hard to escape gas plant scandals when the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) interview former premier McGuinty during the election. Wynne has to also wear the fact that she was a senior member of the McGinty cabinet. This situation is perceived as an election negative. It may be the reason why the electors change horses.

Tim Hudak on the other hand is seen as a right wing ideologue who no one really likes. Well spoken in an evangelical way, he has trouble doing math about his election program. Independent economic experts easily pull apart his Million Job plan and his 100,000 public sector job cuts. That makes his competence an issue. Just how he expects to carry out this simultaneous cut and growth plan is anyone's guess. He's short on detail and credibility. 

But Tim Hudak could come up the middle to become Ontario's new minority government premier despite his vagueness and penchant for right wing viewpoints. One thing is certain if he doesn't become premier this time his life as leader of the Ontario Conservatives is limited. In addition Ontarians may do their usual balancing act of electing a Liberal government when there is a right wing federal government in power.

Ontario is slipping economically. We are losing classic manufacturing jobs along with the Rust Belt  border US states. The economy is in some kind of transition. To what is a serious question that goes unanswered by all Ontario political parties.  

That transition seems to feature high educated youth unemployment or under employment. Manufacturing is becoming more automated and the need for well paying jobs is lessoned. Jobless recoveries are the new reality and Ontario companies are sitting on capital waiting for some sign that the economy can and will improve.

A major food processor Heinz can destroy the economic well being of Leamington and Essex County because they claim their costs are too high to operate profitably in Ontario we need to rethink our economic strategies. 

Heinz, after a 100 years in Ontario, is shifting their operations to low cost right wing US states who have destroyed unions with right to work legislation. There is no loyalty to any Ontario community when profits drop or multinational boards of directors make their decisions.

In my view Tim Hudak will implement similar labour policies in Ontario if he ever gets a majority.  He will make the argument that our labour costs are too high to compete in North America and the world and to implement his Million Jobs Plan he will need anti union legislation. Wages will have to drop as too many people look for too few jobs.

When we examine the 100,000 public sector job cuts Tim Hudak says much of this operation will be done by retirements and natural attrition. This remains troubling.  If someone retires it doesn't mean that the job they do is unnecessary. 

The wider public service involves organizations  from TVOntario to our hospitals and social services not just Queen's Park bureaucrats. A 100,000 wage earners taken out of the Ontario economy is guaranteed to become an economic downer. Shades of Mike Harris but this time on steroids.

So Ontario voters face a Liberal regime with 11 years in office and a tawdry reputation from the McGuinty years. The New Democrats are really only looking to realistically become the balance of power while irritating organized labour during the election. The Conservatives have gone much further to the right where trickle down economics, lower corporate taxes and less government is their mantra. 

Truly a bland hokum election. None of the leaders have told us what they intend to do about the rising costs of electricity in Ontario.  Few exciting ideas have emerged from this campaign. There has been no real definition of how high technology information based economies develop and thrive. 

The status quo concerning youth unemployment and under employment is all we get. None of them have solutions to this social ill. There is nothing in this campaign that shows us a future we can get behind and vote for with any conviction.

© Copyright 2014, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

  1. I was very wrong in my assessment of minority governments. I did not expect a 58 seat majority for Kathleen Wynne's Liberals. I was right about Tim Hudak's resignation if he couldn't form a government. Angela Horwath of the NDP got one more seat. One way to look at this election is as a counterpoint to the right wing Harper federal government. Ontario has sent Harper a message.