Dalton McGuinty learns an important lesson from Rob Ford

Dalton McGuinty learns an important lesson from Rob Ford

We know that the provincial Liberals are watching the Toronto political scene closely (mostly because they keep telling everybody that they are). While we’re skeptical of the lessons from Rob Ford’s election campaign that Dalton McGuinty can apply in his own election battle this fall, he’s clearly learned from watching Ford’s approach to his predecessor’s legacy. Namely, wherever and whenever possible, entrench your preferred policies as much as the law allows, because you never know what’s going to happen after election day (for example, the next guy could come in and cancel a massive transit project—paging David Miller).

Case in point:

Ontario’s Liberal government has entrenched the legal rights of 1,800 proposed renewable energy contracts – making it impossible for a new government to cancel them.

The Liberals have changed the terms for approving contracts under its feed-in tariff program or FIT.

Under the old system, the Ontario Power Authority, which signs the contracts with power developers, could unilaterally terminate proposed agreements at a relatively late stage of the approval process.

But not anymore. The Liberals have now locked the province into almost 2,000 energy projects, no matter what party collects the most votes on Oct. 6. Of course, the Tories under Tim Hudak are likely to argue—with some justification—that a government looking at defeat in an upcoming election doesn’t have the right to deliberately bind its successor’s hands. But we’re willing to wager that the Liberals probably aren’t too worried about hurting the Conservatives’ feelings.

Ontario Liberals entrench 1,800 renewable power projects [Toronto Star]
Battlegrounds Canada: Liberals sell local brand [National Post]

Images: Rob Ford—Shaun Merritt; Dalton McGuinty—Jennifer K. Warren