The problem with the Ontario Liberal Party [OLP] is not Kathleen Wynne. The problem with Kathleen Wynne is the Liberal party. Party leader and Premier Kathleen Wynne is a centre left Liberal, who under other political circumstances might've made a good Ontario NDP'er. Her and husband Jane are no strangers to the progressive life style. She also helped produce the most progressive budget in Ontario history. After the teachers helped her get elected in 2003, she was also a good Education Minister, first working with Minister Gerrard Kennedy and later by herself to rebuild the education system after it had been slashed and gutted during the Harris Years. The changes though not ideal [ie. EQAO, + the OTC remain firmly in place] were definitely the most constructive and open working relationship we've ever had with a provincial government. Still, the wheels for that road trip effectively fell off in 2011 when the party suddenly shifted to the right, imposing draconian MOU contract strips upon the public sector and thereby ending almost 10 years of labour peace.
In retrospect it should seem a very high price and quite foolish to have tried to unsuccessfully trade us off for the one seat by-election victory McGuinty needed to form a majority government. Since becoming Premier Wynne has had to try to undo the damage + scandal of the McGuinty denoue across the province. However, she continues to wear it like an albatross around her neck. She needs to shake it off quick as she hits the election trail with both feet running to establish herself as Premier in her own right and defuse the "Its time to throw the bums out" climate in our province.
Whether Wynne can retool the broken union relationship remains unclear. In Education she has ostensibly worked with Education Minister Liz Sandals to fix the teacher relationship but the fine words have not been backed up with many visible concrete actions.
Indeed Bill 122 provincially centralized control of Education far beyond what Mike Harris accomplished with Bill 116. It also perhaps astutely, from a Liberal perspective, tied the teacher unions to the Liberal party. It would be foolish not to realize that a PC government along with the school board trustees could enforce an even worse, more regressive and draconian contract upon us. It would make the MOU's pale in comparison. It seems the Liberal political opportunism of the McGuinty years might still be waiting in the wings.
The right and left wing dichotomy of the Liberal centralist government remains a problem for Kathleen Wynne. With a decisive election win we might end up with a more progressive Liberal government. Or maybe not. A sound Liberal beating in the upcoming election could help trim a lot of the political deadwood within the party. However it remains unclear just how far the parties right wing tentacles extend. I don't doubt Kathleen would try to stay her course but an NDP coalition government or oppostion party might make the Liberal party as a whole less likely to turn on us again.
"Well, if I can win a government about this big ......"
So far the teacher unions have been hesitant to criticize or try to undermine Kathleen Wynne. Ideally they will play both parties against the middle to get our issues better addressed before the next provincial election. We definitely need time to set straight our contract issues. Also the party tendency to take us for granted. We also need to see the hostile party right wing cut down to size. It would seem incredulous to endorse any Liberal candidates who voted for Bill 115 and/ or stood on the Liberal sidelines during the last tumultuous term of office. Indeed, Kathleen included. She might not have approved but she certainty didn't vote against Bill 115 all the same.
Our notoriously soft teacher union leaders first tendency might be to continue along the road of Liberal appeasement by readily handing out Liberal endorsements, if given half a chance. As I write at this early date they so far seem hesitant. Still, should it become readily apparent that the NDP's election gambit proves highly unlikely to succeed, we could be well served by the silence. The OECTA Speak for Children campaign shows a tendency to act like more of a third party educational advocacy group rather than hand out dubious endorsements to a Liberal party which turned upon us. Ditto with the lukewarm, middle of the road + leftist defanged NDP party.
Are the problems insurmountable?
Endorsements + assistance should only be considered on a case to case basis when it becomes readily apparent where we can block a Tory win. Should the Working Family group focus on exposing the PC record + policies rather than playing party favourites we might avoid the very split that allowed Mike Harris to win his first majority government in 1995. My understanding is that this is the path OECTA will pursue, perhaps OSSTF + ETFO too?
Kathleen Wynne enjoys good presentation skills and a likable personality. It's hard not to like her as just Kathleen, or even Premier Mom. She has a sharp mind and a calm hand focusing on her platform as she begins the race. Still she carries quite a lot of Liberal baggage that could well continue to pull her down regardless of what she does next. One also worries that the gay issue mightn't potentially play very well with traditional Catholics, the Ford Nation, and in WASP Ontario. Watch carefully to see if the PC's don't subtly play the card at some point down the road. Will the average Ontarian be able to rise above such dated and unreasonable prejudices outside of the more socially progressive ridings most notably in the Toronto 416 area? Or would such a move even backfire on the PC party?
There are so many uncertainties to the 2014 election. Most anything could happen to Kathleen Wynne between now and election day in our Ontario political theatre of the mind. The web of intrigue is still just being spun out before us. Progressives should be careful, we could be in for a very rough ride ahead! It's best to proceed with caution!
Will Hudak's discredited "economic theories" mean he will shoot himself in the foot? The OLP have won 2 elections by default due to the PC's own folly after 2003 despite waging vague wishy washy campaigns themselves. Let's watch what happens as he promises to eliminate 1000,000 jobs, avoids debate and struts about like Mike Harris with a pickle up his butt. See Hudak risk playing into Wynne's hands in 2014 @ Hudak Harris Folly?
Links to follow! Meanwhile just scroll down ......