The election will be about the future, not the past
Since the Ontario PC meltdown began in the last week of January, that party’s scandals and chaos have been the story of Ontario politics. From the perspective of the other two parties, there was little point in engaging in Conservative politics during February and the first half of March. In mid-March, pollsters are measuring that Ontarians, when fed a non-stop diet of one party’s politics will, for better or worse, reflect that one party.
In other words, Ontarians behave just like people everywhere else in the world.
Let’s get back to reality.
For the past nine years, Ontario has climbed out of a structural deficit made necessary when the Province chose not to torch the careers and lives of a million Ontarians at the bottom of the recession in 2008-09. Now Ontario’s budget is back in surplus for the fiscal year 2017-18.
A responsible recovery and return to a balanced Budget meant a lot of tradeoffs and sacrifices during nine long years. Ontarians did it. Our Province is North America’s fastest-growing economy again in this year of 2018. The effects of the recession are now behind us.
Time to turn the page and start anew.
That’s why, even in the fading months of Ontario’s 41st Parliament, the Province will have a Speech from the Throne. Ontario is charting a new course: a bold, progressive and forward-looking course that benefits all Ontarians.
The Ontario PC Party just elected a leader who is candid about ripping apart the fabric of fairness that got us through the recession, consigning the bottom half of Ontarians to second-world status, and starving our public infrastructure, education and health care system of the oxygen of funding with mindless tax cuts that benefit only the top few percent of income-earners.
As Liberals, we’ve been here in the polls before: both on the government side prior to an election, and in opposition.
- During our time in government, the PC opposition led by John Tory, then Tim Hudak were – in three elections – supposed to defeat us handily. The opposition PC Party led in the polls on the eve of the elections of 2007, 2011 and in 2014;
- In opposition, the Liberals led the Ontario PCs handily heading into the elections of 1995 and 1999. Like the 21st-century PC Party, the 1990s Liberals found innovative and creative ways to lose those elections;
- No Ontario political party leading in the public opinion polls on the eve of an Ontario election has actually won that election in 31 years.
As Liberals, we are in the business of change, and headed to the future. The PC Party is, and always has been, in the business of the status-quo, and looking backward to a past that never was.
Pollsters breathlessly point to current opinion levels among voters, and project Tory sweeps in traditional Liberal areas. In the elections both the Liberals and Tories have lost during the 1990s and 2000s, the losers have been even higher in the polls than the PC Party is now. The pollsters, however forget these very important points:
- Their polling numbers have been driven by seven weeks of non-stop Tory news, with no focus on either the the Liberals or the other party;
- An election is not being held today, but in June;
- Campaigns and issues matter, and voter support moves;
- The Ontario PC Party has no platform, no costing, no priorities and no coherent message;
- Local MPPs matter, and the question on the ballot is not ‘which party’s candidate would you support,’ but the choice of Bob Delaney with the alternative of a serial PC Party loser with no community connection;
- Whatever principal issue will drive voters to mark an ‘X‘ on the ballot, that issue is not being discussed yet;
- Pollsters disproportionately measure people who are older; have land telephone lines; and speak English as their first or only language.
Ontario Liberals will lay out a forward-looking, progressive, properly-costed and responsible plan that looks forward into the 2020s. The Ontario PC Party will try and have you believe that their vacuous leader is the issue. Ontario Liberals will lay out a path to a bright future that will benefit the Province no matter who is at the helm of the Party or the Province.
There is a lot to happen between now and election day, and a lot that will change. Stay focused on our one and only local job: winning re-election here in the neighbourhoods of Lisgar, Meadowvale and Streetsville that comprise the proud riding of Mississauga-Streetsville.