I've had a love-hate relationship with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty for a while. I still haven't fully forgiven him for the 2007 Ontario referendum fiasco, in which he hobbled the once-in-a-generation chance to reform our First-Past-The-Post voting system. Ultimately, the crushing defeat for proportional representation in Ontario foreshadowed similar crushing defeats elsewhere. So I've buried that hatchet.
In this 2011 election, McGuinty has been running a mostly strong campaign encouraging voters to stay the course and keep his vision of moving forward together. His record on supporting public health care, public education, green energy and many other issues has been inspiring. He's pursued innovation and has shown an admirable willingness to make very unpopular decisions for the greater good.
There have been mistakes. But for the most part, McGuinty has been able to show us what thoughtful, hard-working, progressive, reasonable government looks like.
Compared to the pie-in-the-sky NDP plan put forth by Andrea Horwath in this election, McGuinty's record and plan for the future is far superior. In addition, the Liberals are now well-positioned to humble Tory Tim Hudak next Thursday, a delightful and welcome development after a year of disgusting conservative victories.
Alice Klein puts it well in today's NOW Magazine when she describes the choice for progressives in this Ontario election this way: "...the irony is that one relatively progressive party is running on a platform of stability and staying the course while it actually promotes a platform of positive change. Meanwhile, the other relatively progressive political party is supposedly running on a platform of change but is actually wooing voters on the basis of resistance to the changes being thrust upon us by forces far beyond anyone’s control."
I'm heartened by the polls which show McGuinty is in close contention for the top. Ontarians seem willing to stay the course and keep the leader with a passionately-articulated and reasonable plan in these hard economic times, versus a Tory pretender who has only uttered conservative generalities and old prejudices in this campaign.
I will be voting for Liberal Cristina Martins in my Davenport riding. She may not win against NDP upstart Jonah Schein, but I hope she does. The Liberals need every seat they can muster to hold back a horrifying Tory trifecta. The NDP plan is simply not a plan at all. It would be a shame to lose the gains the Liberals have produced.
My message to progressives in Ontario: Get real and please vote Liberal.