News came out early on Wednesday that on Thursday afternoon something big would come out of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s mouth. An event not to be missed. The pre-spin was out of the ordinary.
Pundits started speculating.
Wynne was supposed to meet with her Liberal party executive, followed by a cabinet meeting and an “open” caucus meeting which would be live-tweeted and broadcasted on YouTube. It sent the Queens Park media pool and a few analysts in a twizzy. What were the tall foreheads in her office scheming?
It created buzz and had all the telltale signs and markings that something big was about to happen.
Some were speculating that Wynne had come to her senses, put party before person and realized that it was time for her to go to give the Liberals a fighting chance at survival in next June’s provincial election. After all, when you’ve been sitting at 15% approval ratings 10 months before the vote, the likelihood of her winning is extremely slim. How low is 15%? Let’s put it in context. South of the border, US President Donald Trump is being excoriated for having “only” a 34% approval rating. Wynne should be so lucky.
It’s possible a fresh face at the helm with new ideas could renew the Liberals on time for the election.
But of course, Wynne, who views herself as a great campaigner put her ego ahead of logic. History will liken her to the band of musicians who played on when with the titanic was sinking to the bottom of the Atlantic.
Others speculated that she was poised to call a snap election for the fall. She’s been handing out goodies to buy votes for months now – with questionable effect given her approval rating. But the cupboard is bare now and those goodies risk being forgotten in 10 months. And the party is scrambling to fill nominations. Not to mention that the party’s finances trail the rival Progressive Conservatives.
So what was all the hoopla about on Thursday? It turns out to have been a publicity ploy. Liberal House Leader Yasir Naqvi let the cat out of the bag in a mid-morning tweet that Wynne was going to outline her “Plan for Fairness and Opportunity” at the caucus meeting. The whole thing landed like a big thud.
What was meant as a big splash barely left any impression. And there’s hardly a trace of her announcement on the internet. Nothing on the government of Ontario newsroom. A few tweets from reporters describe that the Liberals greeted her with chants of “4 more years! 4 more years.” Just like trained seals.
Wynne declared to her captive audience that the “world is inherently unfair” and that Ontario is not immune to global problems. As Queens Park Today’s Allison Smith tweeted: “And that’s it. Much ado about, literally, nothing.”
If anything, her announcement backlashed. It’s rich of Wynne to speak of fairness. Anyone who consumes electricity in Ontario would have a word or two about the topic.
If Wynne has any chance of surviving the election, she’ll have to do better than pretending she’s some kind of philosopher king surviving up puff, platitude and empty words at a dog and pony show in Neverland.