I said at the start of this campaign that Hudak has not improved much at all since we saw Part One of this movie in 2011. The early sequel seems, like most sequels, even worse than the original.
Hudak's "promise" to create One Million Jobs over 8 years has been exposed as a fraud. One million person-years does not equate one million jobs, many economists have noted. Subtract the hit to the economy that firing 100,000 civil servants (mostly teachers, firefighters, water and food inspectors, etc.) and you get an austerity agenda that will hurt Ontario's economy, not help it. As with all neo-conservative plans, the only people who stand to benefit from Hudak's plans are those who are already well off. And that will most certainly not help a fragile Ontario economy. The answer is to continue to invest and spur the economy along as Kathleen Wynne plans, not bring the economy to its knees under a heartless austerity agenda.
This article by Adam Radwanski and this one today by Don Lenihan sum up nicely the state in which Hudak now finds himself, with less than 2 weeks to go in the election campaign.
But let's put aside Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak's idiotic campaign "plan" to remove at least 25,000 jobs from the Ontario economy.
Hudak's biggest hope now in this election campaign remains NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. The better the Ontario NDP does in this election, the more difficult it will be for Kathleen Wynne to stave off a Tory win.
Such is always the case with the NDP. In 2011, the so-called NDP orange crush merely handed Stephen Harper's Conservatives the room they needed to win a majority with 39.6% of the vote. As a progressive pragmatist, I'm not interested in a strong second place finish for the progressive option. I'm interested in a strong victory for the progressive option. On that front, the NDP, be it in Ottawa or Ontario, will never deliver a win; they'll only ever deliver a Conservative government.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has been a horrifying traitor to progressive causes for two years now, as she has abandoned traditional NDP principles in favour of Rob Ford-style populism. When it came to speaking up for those struggling on minimum wage, she was silent for months. When it came to exercising real leadership to promote needed investment in public transit and infrastructure, Horwath and her NDP team preferred to scream bloody murder about tax increases.
Horwath's top priorities? Encourage people to stay in their cars by cutting their auto insurance rates as much as possible, and encourage people to continue to use electricity in their homes by cutting the HST from hydro bills.
Where's the progressive leadership from Horwath on issues that matter to progressives? Sadly, there is none. On such issues, Horwath is an empty vessel.
Now it's clear Horwath is open to the notion of propping up a Tim Hudak minority government, should Hudak somehow still manage to eke out the most seats. I can hear Horwath's explanations already: "Liberals are so corrupt, so let's give Tim Hudak (an idiot who can't count or lead or even run an election campaign) a try managing this province. What can go wrong?" Yes indeed, what could go wrong? Why would Horwath want progressive policies enacted in Ontario under Kathleen Wynne when instead we can have a Tory government try to undermine everything the NDP allegedly stands for? A Hudak government is something Horwath has been quite prepared to live with. If she wasn't, she wouldn't have forced this election at all.
If you're a progressive who still thinks you can trust Andrea Horwath to deliver on issues you care about, please think again. And vote accordingly.
I still think in the end that Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals will prevail in this campaign. Ontarians may wish to avoid all the nonsense of a Hudak minority propped by a confused NDP and hand the Liberals a strong mandate. We'll see how the leaders' debate on Tuesday goes. It's all in Kathleen Wynne's capable hands now. Those 90 minutes will be the most important 90 minutes of her political life. For a true leader who has shown she has what it takes to rise to the occasion and win, I'm confident Kathleen will deliver.