Wednesday, October 03, 2007

This is my rant on politics.

Ontario is in the midst of a provincial election. Last election a close friend advised me to vote for the Liberal Party, lead by Dalton McGuinty, because of his stance on supporting health care.

Although I supported the position, (it’s hard to believe that there are actually people who don’t), I didn’t like the man. I had followed some of his progress through the political machine through the years and recognized him for what he was; a disreputable used car salesman, saying anything, doing anything to get what he wanted.

But the last government was a Progressive Conservative (oxymoron!) majority. In the beginning of their term the PC’s were an anomaly. They had campaigned on keeping our high taxes, and cutting government services till it hurt to create a balanced budget, a rarity in any government.

Well, after election night the PC’s got a majority and everyone settled in for another four years of same-old-same-old.

Only something odd happened. Party leader Mike Harris kept his promises. He cut and cut deep and services bled.

After the initial shock, the province settled into a kind o if-this-is-what-it-takes-then-so-be-it resignation, and all seemed good. The government got a balanced budget and, as is usually the case, Ontario rode high on a good American economy. But then the economy started shifting. Teachers and government services unions went on strike. Harris, to his credit didn’t give in to either.

But he should have. The times, they were a changin’. Lucky for him, when election time came around he was able to produce results, AND his opponent was a new Liberal Party leader named Dalton McGuinty. The PC’s won another majority and maintained the party line.

Big mistake.

The voters, seeing the surplus from the sacrifices they had been forced to endure, thought they would soon benefit. Instead they were forced to make more cuts, lose more services. Hospitals were closed down. Amalgamation, the buzzword of the 90’s, became a slur. Mike Harris constantly besieged by press and power-seekers within his own party, resigned, eventually leaving politics altogether. After a quick convention, the PC’s picked Ernie Eaves to lead them to further glory.

Unfortunately for him, Harris had made too many enemies of the voters, and Harris meant PC. With his slicked back hair, and square Ukrainian face, Eaves looked like a mobster who could do nothing right, even when he did. When it came time to campaign, he decided to dance with the woman he brought to the ball, and stuck to the party line of more cuts and sacrifice.

Sooooooooo Wrong.

The voters wanted change. They wanted someone who would offer them, well, anything other than Conservative miserliness.

Which McGuinty did.

Now let me tell you something that many people have forgotten or simply don’t know. Dalton McGuinty was once part of the Peterson Liberals back in, oh, the late eighties and early nineties. A victim of bad management and bad timing, Peterson managed to lose the election to :GASP!: Bob Rae and the NDP.

At that time I had great respect for Rae. He had been in charge of the New Democratic Party for about 9 years and was a great shit disturber at Queen’s Park, the seat of Provincial government. So, imagine his surprise when he was put in charge. Imagine his, and the voters, surprise when he discovered the provincial coffers which Peterson had touted as brimming with gold, were actually empty and therefore could not keep his campaign promises.

(This might sound familiar to the people of Ontario)

Bob Rae went on to nearly destroy Ontario and do irreparable damage to the NDP. They have never been a serious force in Ontario politics since.

But this isn’t about Bob Rae. This is about another politician who promised the world to the voters, then cried "poverty" when he got into office. I, too, had voted for the Liberal candidate, against my better judgement, but because McGuinty promised something that was important to someone I loved. (and still do ;P)

As it turned out, the candidate I voted for didn’t get elected, about the only thing about the last election that made me feel good.

Since then, I’ve endured the pencil-necked liar, knowing he would get the boot next election. To give McGuinty his due, he is a political animal. His campaign dismisses his broken promises by touting the promises he kept.

The thing about those promises is that for the most part they didn’t cost his government money, or they generated revenue. That might sound good on the surface. Afterall baning smoking just about everywhere is a good thing right? And free, too. Giving the seniors of the province the help he promised them, well, sorry, the pockets are empty on that one.

Sadly, the PC’s have followed the same route the Democrats did in the last election. They got an unpersonable schnook to lead them. John Kerry, with his long jaw and hefty bank account, must have looked good in the drunken euphoria of a Democratic Convention, but after the hangover, lines as deep as the grand canyon etched his reputation, and what was that funky smell?

John Tory has become our Kerry. It was cute when Tory actually won the leadership of the PC’s because the party’s nickname is the Tories. So Tory is a Tory leading the Tories.

Kind of a Major Major Major Major thing you Heller fans. (Oh! A literary reference)

Anyway, this guy was supposed to be the Great White Hope for the PC’s - likeable to big business as well as the middle-class. Well, upper middle-class. Tory would lead the party back from the near oblivion of the last election. All he had to do was wait for an election while Dalton sunk himself.

But noooooooo! (a John Belushi/SNL reference)

Tory had to open his mouth. He had to come up with ‘ideas’ of his own. Worse, ideas so controversial, it overshadows McGuinty’s own failures on the same issue, and is costing him an election.

Now, you might say this is good, showing the man for what he is. Better to pick the devil you know, and all that.

Yeah, and professional sports teams tank games so they can get first round draft picks.

So, here are my election predictions.

Unless Dalton McGuinty is caught in a sexual act with a dead sheep, he is going to get another majority government. If he is caught with a live sheep, then maybe a minority.

Shortly after the election, the Tories will dump Tory for a new Tory loser, er, leader.

The NDP, practically invisible in this election, will remain so, and even lose their coveted status as primary shit disturbers to the environmental Green Party.

Though the Green’s have been getting good press, and let’s face it, deep down we know some of what they say is right, on the whole their candidates are not politically savvy. The party will disappear into the forest with the rest of the fringe parties until the next election.

McGuinty will get in and call his majority win a ‘mandate of the people’, and not acknowledge the fact the opposition couldn’t come up with someone worth voting for. Hell, he won’t have to. Premiers rarely last more than two terms in office. Meanwhile, he’ll continue with his policies of squeezing blood from a rock, balance his government budget and break whatever promises he made that are to inconvenient to keep.

In other words, back to the same-old-same-old.

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