Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty never dreamt that seeking rival MPPs to join him in his precarious minority government, in order to give him the majority he so eagerly sought, would be like sliding off the proverbial roof of a cattle barn into the biggest -gosh-darn load of fresh manure Prince Edward County had ever seen.
No matter what Dalton says or what his political minions say, it was a horribly unprincipled move to try to “buy” a government that you had been denied by the electorate in the recent Ontario election.Tory Elizabeth Witmer gave up her Kitchener-Waterloo seat to chair the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board offered her by McGuinty. This is not a conversion story; this smacks of a deal. If the Liberals take her old seat in the forthcoming by-election it would give McGuinty a majority Liberal government. However, many voters residing there might be angry at both the Tories and the Liberals’ deal-making and feel that this is not the proper way to elect a government through the back door.
Did McGuinty display any contrition or sorrow for his actions? No, he bragged before the caucus that he had “at least two more” Progressive Conservative or NDP MPPs that were being wooed to either resign their seats or cross the aisle. The Toronto Star’s Robert Benzie says that McGuinty’s governing party is not content to put all its eggs in one basket. A Liberal source confirmed that they were looking for candidates in one of the five Toronto seats held by the NDP.
This is a ridiculous, dishonest plot being foisted on the citizens of Ontario by Dalton McGuinty. Can you imagine in the future that every close election would call for a “chat” with an opposition member holding down a possible winning seat for the government? We will take you behind the scenes to show you how it’s done.
“I’m glad you could make it to the meeting at Queen’s Park on such short notice, Mrs. Smith-Jones. You’re the member for Falling Waters of the LST party.”
“No, Mr. Premier, it’s ‘Miss Smith-Jones’ and it’s the LTS party. What can I do for you, sir?”
“Well, Miss Smith-Jones, you may well be aware of my attempts – on behalf of the Goober Party of Ontario, to contact a few opposition members and give them the opportunity to step aside and make it possible for the government to speak with a unified voice.”
“You mean the ‘Goober’ voice?” said Miss Smith-Jones.
“No, I mean not just the ‘Goober’ voice but the voice of the people of Ontario. They’ve been hamstrung in getting their message out due to the delaying and stalling tactics of the opposition.”
“May I remind you, Mr. Premier, that it was the voice of the people that made you a minority government,” Miss Smith-Jones said.
“It’s good of you to bring that to my attention. May I remind you that we are all minorities and none of us have achieved much of our goals. We won’t unless we find some kind of unity.”
“Well, Mr. Premier, what do you have in mind? “ Smith-Jones asked.
“Give the government a stronger hand to play,” the Premier said.
“The voters in the last election wouldn’t do that – why should we?” said Smith-Jones.
“The voters wouldn’t consider a minority government result an ideal government and why should you?”’ the Premier said. “You were elected to achieve some goals.”
“I wasn’t elected by the people in Falling Waters riding to become the new chair of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. Nor was I elected to give up my seat to make way for a Goober MPP to be elected and make way for the Goober Party to have a majority in the legislature.”
“Miss Smith-Jones” exclaimed the premier. “Do you think it’s a crime to seek to have a majority party want to address the problems of all the people in Ontario?”
“No, Mr. Premier. I don’t think it’s a crime. I think it’s a shame.”