Saturday, May 31, 2014

Progressives simply cannot trust populist Andrea Horwath to stop regressive Tim Hudak

Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak has screwed up his election campaign, perhaps beyond repair, with his faulty math and his slick and untrustworthy salesman routine.  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.  

1 comment:

BobbyB said...

In general I agree that our political system rewards minimalism by allowing a party into power by splitting the vote. But that is the electoral system we have and regardless if it is first past the post or any other format we will always have buy-in from "opposition" identified as the key method of getting things past/enacted/done.

The only change that may help with how we, in this 21st century, govern ourselves is to acknowledge that every idea may have merit and each representative elected by the public, be it Green Party, Conservative, Liberal, or NDP, each have the right to have some of their ideas tabled and debated and (horrors) potentially arriving at a good idea that is tweaked to be acceptable to all and enacted.

Wouldn't that be great if Governments would allow, within the cycle of elected representation, equal time to all "parties" based on percentage of the votes received to allow each party to table ideas they would like to get debated/vetted/put in place?

So if the Conservatives received 36% of the votes and the Greens 11% and Liberals 31% and NDP 22% that each of these "officially registered" parties has the right to drive the political agenda for the equivalent amount of time within this sitting of the legislature. That would mean that Green ideas would be at least tabled and discussed and maybe adopted as would NDP ideas, Liberal ideas, and Conservative ideas.

All voters would get a chance to see their governance preferences at least be able to be tabled and discussed, maybe not adopted, but at least their votes would not be considered wasted if their party did not get elected into first past the post power.

The party that received the most votes controls the time allocation agenda in the legislature which must be honoured and adhered to, and this allows each and every registered party (e.g., NOT independents unless there is a registered Independent party) to have a window to put their preferred policies and directions into the debate and allows all citizens to gain from the best ideas from any/all parties vs having to march to any one single ideological agenda which leaves many voters feeling like their votes do not count for anything (hence low voter turnout from voter apathy).

Only through changes to how our governments use their mandates with all the elected officials involved to attempt and address all of the electorates wants and needs would there be a chance to make our democracy really work for all.

It is not how we vote and whom we elect it is how our government structure utilizes all ideas and all wants/needs/desires of their elected representatives that will truly move us into a better and more productive future and stem the cynicism and malaise the voting public has adopted.