Liberals have not stayed too long, author

To the Expositor:

With all the grumblings about the McGuinty Liberals, who are currently in power at Queen’s Park, it might be that the people of Ontario are ready to vote for a change in the fast approaching provincial election. Unfortunately, in Northern Ontario, the reflexive tendency has been to look to the NDP as the alternative when people grow tired of the Liberals. That tendency should change.

An NDP government is the last thing we need in Queen’s Park at a critical juncture like this. Even letting ‘the Dippers’ hold the balance of power in a minority government led by the Liberals or Progressive Conservatives would be a mistake.

The spectre of a financial meltdown still threatens to plunge the world back into an economic downturn that will make the recession of 2008-2009 look tame by comparison. That looming threat has been dubbed “the debt crisis” by the media. Regardless, our province is a microcosm of the rest of the western world at this time. The Ontario Government’s finances are awash in a sea of red ink. It’s not just the United States that is at risk, much less Greece, Italy, Ireland, or some of the other social democracies in Europe. At a time when tough decisions have to be made, and unpopular measures taken, what is needed in Queen’s Park is a new government with the backbone to do it.
Bookkeeping and finances are not too sexy as political issues go. However, they are the most important ones in this election by far. When it comes to economics and finances, the NDP are like the kid that keeps failing Grade 2. They just don’t get it. John Ivison, a political columnist with one of the major Toronto newspapers, writes “Andrea Horwath’s financial illiteracy is dangerous.” Ms. Horwath, as leader of the NDP, means well, just as most of the Dippers do. Unfortunately, she keeps trotting out the same tired old anti-capitalist bromides from the 1970s to rally the troops. The NDP still fail to grasp that it is the private sector—not the public sector—that is the real engine of our economy. Whichever political party gets into power after the election, there should be a major push to build a more conducive economic climate for the private sector to create jobs in.

Not just in Ontario, but in Canada as a whole, the NDP have become a political party with a core ideology long past its ‘best before’ date. Robert Fulford, a former editor of Saturday Night magazine and a senior statesman as Canadian political commentators go, describes the NDP as being “as much a fantasy as a political party.” Fulford really nails it when he says of the Dippers, “They love their electronic devices, but they don’t wish to dwell on the fact that computers, smart phones, and iPads only exist because of the burning desire on someone’s part to maximize profit.” Sorry folks, but that’s how the world works. If the march of human history proves anything, it is that those cultures who embrace free market economics, are the best suited to lift their citizens up out of poverty and medievalism.

Nor should the people of Ontario forget the mess that the NDP made when they were in power in Ontario for five years in the early 1990s. Bob Rae should still be considered at least as big a boogey-man as Mike Harris in the folklore of Ontario politics. Confronted about this issue earlier in the campaign, Andrea Horwath snapped, “People are tired of history lessons. They want to look to the future, not dwell on the past.”

Don’t be so sure. The people of Ontario would be ill advised to let the NDP off the hook so easily. The American philosopher and scholar, George Santayana, who taught as a professor at Harvard University about one hundred years ago right now, famously declared that, “Those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”

What about the McGuinty Liberals? No doubt they have been out there trying to ‘scare up votes’—both figuratively and literally speaking. So desperate are they to deflect criticism from their own dismal record in government that they keep threatening us with the ghost of Mike Harris. It gets worse. Dalton McGuinty has even said that a Tim Hudak Progressive Conservative government would amount to nothing more than ‘Tea Party North.’

You shouldn’t be fooled. They are just trying to change the subject. The McGuinty Liberals are still the party of the Green Energy Act—where you pay private landowners 85 cents a kilowatt for solar panel projects, and then sell the electricity generated out to consumers at 8 cents a kilowatt, with the taxpayer picking up the tab for the rest. The McGuinty Liberals are still the party of the HST tax, which they said would not cost the good citizens of Ontario one dime more than the old system, all the while knowing very well that it would. Have you had a look at the HST tax on your hydro bill or furnace oil invoice lately?

Fact: Since 2003, Ontario’s annual spending went from $74.5 billion in the first year that the Liberals were in power at Queen’s Park, up to $121.1 billion in 2011. I’m not making this up. The National Post put it best in an editorial a couple of weeks ago, when they said, “This is not just a government out of cash, it’s out of ideas.”

The eight-year reign of the Liberals at Queen’s Park brings to mind a fiery speech in the British House of Commons by MP, Leo Amery, in the dark days of May 1940 as Hitler’s legions rolled westward to the Bay of Biscay. A heated debate was taking place in parliament that ultimately brought down Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in disgrace. Mr. Amery concluded his speech by pointing dramatically at Mr. Chamberlain, and then quoted ‘verbatim’ from one of Oliver Cromwell’s rants in the English parliament of 1651, “You have stayed too long for any good that you claim to have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God go.”

Cromwell’s words are even more timely now as the Ontario election approaches than they were 350 years ago.

Brad Middleton