For many months now, Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals have hammered away at Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown on where he stands on provincial issues.
How many times have we heard howls from the government benches in the Legislature pressing the PCs on “what’s your solution to hydro problems” or nastily and falsely portraying him as a Canadian version of US President Donald Trump.
Well, be careful what you wish for. Last weekend Brown released his election platform at a policy convention over 6 months before the June 7, 2017 election and was the first party leader to do so. Talk about turning the table on Wynne. And it’s a good one to boot.
I would have loved to be a fly on the wall as Wynne was being briefed by Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca who she dispatched to spy on Brown at the conference. The largest mental health commitment in Canadian provincial history, lower income taxes for the middle class and 12% more off our hydro bills are all worthy things in the platform called “People’s Guarantee.”
Del Duca, in a classic pot-calling-the-kettle-black, had the nerve to comment on Brown’s promises “you can get everything under the sun…it’s going to be all sunshine and rainbows.” This from a government who’s been squandering our money on all types of pet projects like green energy.
The PC’s plan is consistently centrist in all respects reminiscent of the era of former Premier Bill Davis. By contrast, Wynne’s track record’s been all over the map. Selling a profitable Crown corporation, Hydro One, and removing public accountability is very much a right-wing thing to do.
The way Wynne micromanages things like when we should do our laundry according to hydro usage smacks of left wing socialism. She also appears to support the wacky “Phones Down, Heads Up Act” introduced by one of her obscure backbenchers MPP Yvan Baker which would create an offence for crossing the street while using your cell phone. Wynne called it an “interesting idea” even though it’s completely unsupported by evidence that it would make us safer.
Heck, no doubt any idea that would get your mind off your skyrocketing hydro bill would be “interesting” from Wynne’s perspective.
The one risk of being the first one out of the gate with a plan for governing is that you are more vulnerable to attack by political adversaries. The flip side is that Brown has shown the courage of his convictions and is ready to defend his plan. And it also shuts up the Liberals who have been harassing the PCs for what they stand for and suggesting they have some kind of hidden agenda.
Right now, the Liberals are looking like a deer caught in the headlights. Their MPPs are running for cover or quitting and their coffers are not quite as full as they should be. Just last year, the PCs fundraised $12.6 million, nearly double what the Liberals collected. In the first quarter of 2017, the PCs fundraised even more money than last year’s first quarter.
The Liberals? Not so much. In a pathetic and desperate appeal for money, Ontario Liberal Party President Brian Johns emailed his faithful last week begging them to “chip in $5” so they can produce a video to attack the PCs. He added: “A $5 contribution from you is exactly what we need.”
What’s next? What about a beer bottle drive? I’m sure 10 cents a bottle would be “exactly” what the Liberals would need to top up their meagre resources.