A new website has been launched by the Ontario Liberals called Dalton.ca.
I will admit, it's a pretty slick site and very daring. It openly acknowledges many of the major promises on which McGuinty's government failed to deliver, including closing coal-burning power plants by 2007, reducing Highway 407 tolls, not raising taxes, etc. But it does so by putting those broken promises in better context, using messaging that I'm sure will convince some that they were necessary.
McGuinty's 'black & white' messages are succinct and clear. I think he, and the party machine, should be congratulated for admitting the obvious (promises were broken, hopes raised to very high levels in 2003 have been dashed).
Such an admission might actually garner a lot of respect from some voters.
The Liberals have made progress on a number of key policy areas, especially improving public education and health care. The problem is most voters don't seem to know it. When we remind voters that waiting times for knee replacements and cataract surgeries are way down, or that primary school class sizes are dropping, many just shrug.
This new strategy of admitting broken promises but highlighting the strengths and accomplishments of the government in the same breath, and making Dalton the main spokesman for this message (thus hopefully reminding voters that Dalton is just an ordinary, hard-working guy like them) could very well do the trick of getting the Liberal government re-elected.
As it stands now, I'm still betting that McGuinty's Liberals will be reduced to a minority government. It will take a very aggressive and effective campaign by the Grits, combined with a weak campaign by John Tory, to help secure another majority. And I'm not betting that John Tory's campaign is going to be weak.