Category Archives: Dalton McGuinty

Remember Dalton McGuinty?

He still has the unenviable task of piloting our sinking ship.

The Legislature is back to work today. I have no idea how they should be dealing with the economy.

As the US plumbs new depths, is there anything we can do to save ourselves?

Photo credit.

Did I Speak Too Soon?

St. Pancras Station by sean-b

No sooner did I lament the sorry state of federal government in Canada and the unlikely progress of any plans for high-speed rail in the Windsor-Quebec City corridor than Premiers McGuinty and Charest get together and announce the intention to begin considering the study of the possibility of high-speed rail along the St. Lawrence. And all this with the cooperation of the federal government.

Granted, they’re aiming low and investigating a type of train that might be more honestly called higher-speed rail, but I’ll take it. By simply acknowledging that rail links will play a substantial role in future transportation, the political discourse has been shifted from “none or some” to “some or more.” With the Conservatives taking the side of “some” high-speed rail, the rest of the federal parties, all to the left of the government, are pretty much forced into advocating for more.

Sure, countless similar studies have been commissioned over the years, but let’s pay no attention to that because I’m tempering my cynicism tonight.

[photo] “St. Pancras Station” by sean-b

2007: Domestic Outlook

Polar Bear swim 2007 by *

What’s in store for 2007? I doubt there will be a lack of things to blog about!

Ontario

There is a provincial election scheduled for sometime in October, the first of it’s kind in this province. I don’t doubt Howard Hampton when he saysI expect we’ll see 10 months of photo ops and press conferences.” On the other hand, the government doesn’t get to choose when to call the election, so I suppose it’s a worthy trade-off.

With the election still ten months away and polls reasonably close, it’s anybody’s game. Well, anybody except the NDP. Regardless of how well Bob Rae did at the Liberal leadership convention, his ghost still haunts the Ontario NDP. Still, this being the first election since the departure of Mike Harris, vote-splitting, and all that fun, the NDP stands to gain a handful of percentage points at least. But I digress. It is more accurate, and less distracting, to say the election comes down to Dalton McGuinty and John Tory.

I think McGuinty has done a decent job leading the Liberal government so far. Things were a bit shaky at first with the infamous broken promises and budget deficits, but aided by a cooperative economy things have gone (un)remarkably smoothly of late.
Tory has spent his brief time running the PC party by building up a personal image of respectability without committing to anything too substantial. The impression I’m getting is that he will govern more-or-less like the Liberals, except more honestly. He has cast himself, successfully I think, as a Bill Davis PC: Big on common sense and pragmatism, where common sense is always uncapitalized and never revolutionary.

All this leaves me pretty apathetic about the election, because either way we are going to end up with a pretty decent government. I’ll probably vote for the Liberals at the end of it all, only because they are already known and tested. But who knows what will happen in the intervening months. I certainly wouldn’t have to choke back my own bile to cast a ballot for John Tory, and I won’t lose any sleep if the pull ahead in the polls.

Speaking of losing sleep…

Canada

Stephen Harper is our Prime Minister. This whole business of minority governments is too complicated for me to follow without quitting my day job, so I won’t even speculate about when the government is going to fall or under what conditions. What I can tell you is I will not, under any conditions, be voting for a Conservative. I had high hopes after the last election, but they were quickly dashed. It makes me angry just thinking about it, and a bit nervous thinking about how much worse it could be.

Setting aside all that, I was very impressed with most of the Liberal leadership hopefuls, and have a good feeling about Stephane Dion. I’m glad too that Michael Ignatieff is now deputy-leader or whatever title they gave him. It would have been a shame (and a very bad way to signal “renewal”) if they had ostracized such a smart guy. Compared to the last few years, the Liberals have a bright future ahead.

I voted for the NDP candidate in the last election because it was the best way to vote against the Liberals without voting for the Conservatives. However, the way the NDP has been trying to work with the Harper government while criticizing the Liberals only makes sense in an abstract way. In practice, the enemy of your enemy should not be your friend when your party is as idealistic as the NDP usually is. Wearing the Liberals’ clothes does not become New Democrats.

And don’t forget about the Greens! They have a new leader who comes off a bit, shall we say, flowery compared to Jim Harris, but there’s no denying they have momentum. Could we see our first Green MP in 2007?

It doesn’t look dull from here, and we haven’t even stumbled across the best unexpected stuff yet.

*credit where credit is due

Observation on Immigration

I’m always interested when newspapers print opinion columns by-lined by politicians. They provide a flood of information compared to the usually TV sound-bites. And I’m a political geek, so I like that.

Today’s Star has a column with Premier McGuinty’s name on it, about what the government is trying to accomplish on a trade mission to South-East Asia this winter. There’s the usual talk about jobs, dollars, our track-record, education, and so on.

The whole thing is closed with talk of “family.” Because there are so many people from East Asia in Toronto, we are family.

And a light-bulb went off.

I suddenly get all this talk about building connections through immigrants. Even more than building purely economic ties (You know, that commercial with the Indian woman moving seamlessly from talking to her contacts in Mumbai to talking to her Canadian co-workers in the boardroom?).

We could be building something special, like we already have with Great Britain and the United States. A connection of more than just traded goods, a bond made through shared family and history.

With Toronto as the second-most (some might argue first-most) diverse city on the planet, Ontario is well-poised to make these connections.