Opening Statement



Thursday, 21 February 2013

Ontario Politics: The Gas Plant Stink!


Tim Hudak's still fiercely focused on 2012 with his attempts to nail long gone Minister Chris Bentley+ now Premier Kathleen Wynne for missing documents + big moola. That of course refers us back to the 2011 election gas plant closings. Listen: Chris was in the hot seat as Minister after it happened. As for Wynne, it seems he wants her condemned forever for being in the cabinet at the time. Think again: she along with the rest of the party was real busy out on the election hustings when it happened. Of course, something did happen.



Thinks: "Good Lord this stinks! Now, are there any more documents?!?"

I recall working out in the political field for our teachers at the time. I was in and out of the OLP campaign offices quite a bit. The buzz was that the gas plants had to be chopped since the furor was a big campaign threat that wouldn't go away. Basically, I'd bet it was made by somebody working high up on the campaign + then probably rubber stamped by the government among the fray. There was much hmming and hawing over what to do, then a few days later -bingo! They are gone. 

Various environmental and community group [MIMBY] were royally p.o'ed  that the plants were being built. They did not want them to go ahead. Big time. I saw them around a lot and quite frankly their concerns were very legit. You wouldn't want the gas plants in your backyard either. The OLP had been "damn the torpedoes" staying the course to keep moving forward with the plans just like with the MOU. Their biggest mistake, being stuck between a rock + a hard place [ie where else could the plants go?] was in not listening earlier, and then friggin' agreeing to halt construction during the election for obvious political reasons. 

No, that's not nice and it cost money. Lot of money. However there weren't too many tears at the time, quite the opposite. The McGuinty government had finally respected the public demands. Environmentalists and the local communities sighed in great relief. The ridings could've voted against the OLP's backpedalling + political manoeuvring by voting NDP or even PC. It was very obvious. They didn't.



Gas Plant$: Serious busine$$! The Vogt Bro$. won the contract in 2005. 

The stink of the  McGuinty Liberal's backroom scandal does require investigation. Of course both Tim Hudak + Andrea Horwath want to clear the air. Premier Wynne will need to respond to their wishes, exactly how remains to be seen. She won't want a messy Paul Martin style report coming out during a spring election. Nobody would except I suppose Prime Minister Paul Martin who ultimately fell to the Federal Tories while trying to campaign during the Quebec scandal enquiry. Mark my word, the patronage spending at the root of the scandal is still going on somehow with somebody else now under some other guise if not in Quebec than somewhere else in Canada. Don't be fooled by all the political grandstanding and tactical moves seemingly born out of anger and outrage when there is a choice political scandal to be had, especially just before or during a very close fought election campaign.

Hudak's Torys love to wallow in scandal. A choice one has a lot of popular appeal and arouses great ire when exposed at the right time. However, Tim shouldn't get too self righteous. During the Harris Eves years, when he was in cabinet, the Tory's were up to their ears in a very lucrative scandal over plans to chop up and sell off Ontario Hydro. Heck, his wife Deb Hutton even got a high paid job at Ontario Hydro. He is no stranger to scandal himself! My best guess would be that's he's just never gotten nailed as the sacrificial lamb.

The NDP? During the Rae years they had more very stupid scandals happening than anyone else to date. These included the much publicized loosey goosey late night drunken affairs at the party's favourite haunt, the Loose Moose Pub down along Front Street.Then there was a cabinet minister Sunshine Boy! I forget. Was Peter Kormos undressed down to his undies or a wearing a bathing suit when he agreed to have his photo taken and posted in the Toronto Sun? Whoa eh? Too bad, I always thought it most unfortunate that a good man took a very bad hit for that one. Back then folk where shocked + outraged! It was big news, but for the most part they were just too incredibly stupid + inexperienced in the pitfalls of governing at the time, I will grant the NDP that, basically with the Loose Moose affairs too.


How would you like one o' these lil' babies in your backyard?

The long + short of it? We know that power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Regretfully that is nothing new under the sun. As former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney once candidly noted, given a chance, the politicos will all being lining up "like pigs at the trough." Usually the politics of the time lacks transparency, an inevitable opportunity passes by, and somewhere somehow someone will jump at it. One can't, unfortunately, emphasize that enough! You can bet on scandal happening time + again one way or another!

Is it right? Of course not! Usually though, scandal is also a sign of a government that has been around too long, lost it's moral compass and is just getting too cocky. That's a big challenge for Premier Wynne in representing a new Liberal approach to government while wearing such a heavy albatross around her neck. Andrea Horwath is going to quite rightfully express her displeasure and demand that the truth be known. Watch: the two leaders will be ladylike and firm as they hash out whether there will be a public enquiry or an investigative committee. Meanwhile Tim Hudak can continue to be angry and outraged. He'll yell and stomp, like the angry bold Tory big boss man that he is to his heart's content. One doubts it will hurt either Andrea or Kathleen as long as they can keep keep their wits about them enduring his rage. 

Bottom line? A scandal is bad. Very bad. We all know that. However, in the grand Queen's Park scheme of things if anyone wants to clear the air of a stagnant party which is on the political ropes of getting voted out of power, please don't confuse the gas plant stink with the  more immediate issues of substance in Ontario today. Criticize as you will but know that another scandal will eventually happen again with somebody else, if it's not the Wynne Liberals in power, then take your party pick.

We know as teachers, that there are much more important pressing issues. Consider the public service crisis as well as democratic union rights for starters! Whoever rules will require a substantially more credible approach to government with forward looking policies, well in addition to seeking long term remedies for such scandal. Catching another political crook again will not suffice. In a political landscape lacking a moral compass that is an unending quest. Andrea Horwath is absolutely correct to not let this latest scandal pass unaddressed. Beyond perhaps a first rough mis-step in focusing her main attention here, she is fortunately also moving forward on a wide range of other very important issues to help Ontario. Good for her! To paraphrase a metaphor, when speaking of all the problems we face in our province today, as far as the big picture goes, the best path to take to is to focus on the big forest ahead, rather than get lost wandering between the trees.



Gas Plants: Dangerous business! Get away! Git! Git!

Tim, on the other hand clearly doesn't want to follow that path. Instead he's happy to wallow below the underbrush in a mud fight, an angry bully boy who is all gas and hot air. So what will Tim do next? Be bold + shout whatever neo con right wing platitudes he can think up on the spot? Remain focused on yesterday's bad news while other very important and immediate problems threaten our province today? I think so. He just seems so at home this way!

And as for Premier Wynne? Good luck! You are the one who will now be stuck wearing the gas plant smell for the party come election time if Tim has his way. Meanwhile Andrea is posed to give you a good run for your money on other bigger policy fronts while you show us just how new and fresh your vision of the Liberal party can be, as we now get down to the specifics. 

Address the scandal please! I hate smelly gas plant issues too. However I'm willing to believe that like most of us here at my teacher blog spot, our concerns for now are more about issues like the public service and democratic rights to name but a few. Tim? Andrea? Please show us what you can do for our province's common good. Troughs are for pigs. We don't need anyone to just crawl down among the dirty scandals when there is so much more high minded and important work to do!

Comment Bar below ...

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wynne took a pounding today in Q.P. Tried to firm up and handle all questions herself but eventually wilted and let the more experienced house leader Miloy take the hits. His Ben Stein in Ferris's Day Off routine always puts the opposition to sleep. Here's hoping Kathleen can recover. I'm looking forward to her first big announcement to put this province back on track.

Anonymous said...

David, I always enjoy reading your blogs. I do not support Hudak, but good for him for keeping the focus on yesterdays bad news. The immediate problems that threaten Ontario today are the result of yesterdays actions. There's a saying about those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Did Wynne and Horvath forget their roles in the budget and Bill 115? Well I haven't and if that means Hudak is my voice for reminding them every day, then I am okay with that. I think it is actually sad how quickly people forget and move on to, what is essentially, the status quo. Real change doesn't come from old faces.

David Chiarelli said...

Fair enough! Thanks for reading and sharing your views! In solidarity!

David Chiarelli said...

It's going to need to be a pretty big good announcement or the pounding are going to continue unabated. I wonder what she can do?
Thanks for reading and sharing your views! In solidarity!

Anonymous said...

The residents of Etobicoke/Mississauga are partly to blame for the mess of the gas plants. That shovel hit the ground long before the fall of 2011. The bigger scandal, in my view, is Ornge. The story of one man's greed and a health ministry with zero oversight.

Anonymous said...

Wynne's path to recovery from this Liberal mess is to call a public inquiry and throw every guilty party under the bus. At the same time she needs to announce a huge public spend in sort of a Keynesian effort to combat the bad economy. She should raise corporate taxes by a few points to dramatically increase revenue. This will steal huge support from the NDP and help her government survive. All those labour unions and social justice groups will come to her side. Hudak will howl but so what. She'll move from 28 to 35 or so in the polls and the NDP back down to their usual spot at 20 or less.

David Chiarelli said...

This 40th session of the legislature sure sounds like it's turning into a real nail biter!

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