Dalton McGuinty tries a new election tactic: run against Ottawa, remind everyone of the federal Liberal shellacking
We’re not quite sure yet if this is destined for the Election Strategy Hall of Fame (headquarters to be decided): Dalton McGuinty, who’d like to retain his current job for the next four years, has tried a number of campaign strategies to convince Ontarians not to vote for the Tim Hudak Conservatives. But after crying “abortion” fell a little flat, McGuinty opened another front: this time, campaigning against Ottawa.
“Queen’s Park needs to stand up for Ontario more than ever,” Mr. McGuinty said in a speech to party faithful. “Today, and for at least the next four years, Ottawa has a Conservative government guided by the west. And an NDP opposition shaped by Quebec.”
Citing the support the federal government has given provinces like Alberta and Newfoundland for the oilsands and hydroelectric development respectively, Mr. McGuinty, who is committed to serving another term if he is re-elected in the provincial election in October, said it is simply a matter of fairness.
“I’m just standing up on behalf of Ontarians to say, ‘Hey, we want in on the support, too.’”
Running against those crumb-bums in the capital is a classic political move, albeit one usually reserved for people who aren’t themselves in a capital of their own. Which makes us wonder if the premier has actually thought this line of reasoning through. After all, highlighting the allegedly Ontario-less Parliament (which would be news to finance minister Jim Flaherty or much of the NDP’s front bench) is, by definition, reminding voters about the apocalyptically bad performance of the Liberal Party of Canada on May 2. “Hey, remember all those Liberal MPs who lost in the spring? Think about that when October comes around!” doesn’t exactly sound like a great rallying cry. Or maybe the premier was decrying the collapse of the BQ, but somehow we doubt it.
Now, McGuinty made an important policy point during his speech. He pointed out that while Ontario is receiving equalization payments for the first time under his watch, Ottawa still collects far more from Ontarians than it pays back out. Hence, referring to the province as “have-not” isn’t exactly fair. This, it turns out, was the point Dwight Duncan was trying to make before he got sidetracked into Murdoch-land.