Dalton McGuinty: Partial Comeback Kid

Six months ago, McGuinty was toast with a stake through his heart

“Admit it,” a Liberal campaign guy said to me at the Château Laurier while those last few seats were see-sawing back and forth, “If I had told you six months ago that we’d be on the cusp of a majority tonight, would you have believed me?”

Nope. Six months ago I’d have said Dalton McGuinty was toast with a stake through his heart. Or whatever your preferred mixed doom metaphor is. The Liberal has run a doughy, amorphous government, strong on primary schooling in my opinion, but lackluster with the occasional big mess elsewhere. Most Ontarians couldn’t pick Conservative Tim Hudak or New Democrat Andrea Horwath out of a police lineup but they figured surely anybody had to be better than this boyo.

That changed. McGuinty took a licking but he keeps on ticking. His party lost 18 seats. Eleven go to the Progressive Conservatives, seven to the NDP. Reporters get super-excited when it’s unclear whether a government will hold a majority of seats, but even if he falls one short, at 53, McGuinty is close enough and the affinities between his rivals so few that he’ll be able to govern comfortably for quite a while. He’s already outlasted Mike Harris and David Peterson; he’ll have had the job for about a decade before he has to decide whether he wants to try a fourth time. No, I don’t expect him to. But he’s already proved surprising.

What happened? “Three things,” my Liberal campaign acquaintance said. “First, we surprised them. They expected us to run away from Dalton, to run on the team and the Liberal brand. We didn’t do that. We put the leader front and centre in our ads and our messaging. As he himself has said, ‘Don’t compare me to the almighty. Compare me to the alternative.’” Yes, that’s the line Keith Davey cooked up for Pierre Trudeau in 1980. There are no new lines any more. “And we changed voters’ minds about Dalton over the course of the campaign.”

Two, the global economy started to look scary again about halfway through the writ period. Nervous voters don’t like risk. On this, the Liberals just caught a little luck.

Third, a couple of things came up to keep Tim Hudak off what the Liberals think was supposed to be his game. He wanted to run as a blandly reassuring alternative to a tired-out premier, very modestly to McGuinty’s right on economics, unremarkable on social issues. Twice Hudak found himself barging into controversies he didn’t need. The first was when the Liberals launched their platform in early September. It included a small amount of money for a tax credit employers could qualify for by hiring new Canadian citizens who’d been in the country less than five years. The first time he was asked about it, by TV interviewer Stephen LeDrew, McGuinty said the tax benefit was for Canadian citizens. But Hudak spent several days calling it a benefit for “foreign workers.”

Now here’s the thing. The federal Conservatives, under Stephen Harper and with Jason Kenney’s assist, have built a voter coalition that includes both immigrants and people who don’t much like immigration. The Hudak Conservatives had done less of that work in the first place, but to the extent they had, running against immigrant workers was a surefire way to underperform with that part of the voter coalition.

Was the McGuinty employer tax credit a trap for Hudak? “Those who think we might do that are thinking too much,” the Liberal campaign guy said. “We never thought it’d be a story at all.”

Then in the campaign’s last week, a Conservative campaign flyer asking all sorts of questions about same-sex curriculum got way more coverage than Hudak wanted to. Taken together, the two issues bookended his campaign and left him looking like a guy who was way more preoccupied with social issues than pocketbook issues.

The end result was quite close in popular vote, with barely 2 points separating Hudak from McGuinty, on extremely low turnout. McGuinty didn’t inspire Ontario, and the Liberals must worry whether the rot has set in for next time, or how to keep that from happening. But rebuilding in government is so much more pleasant than rebuilding in opposition that relief alone will make Liberals cut McGuinty the slack he needs for now.




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Dalton McGuinty: Partial Comeback Kid

  1. Yup, I’d have believed it.

    Ontarians have very little to complain about.

    Dalton has been a very good premier through a very dark time…and a premier with his eye on the future.

    • I’d have believed it.  For one thing, I’m pretty sure Harris was down nine or 10 points on Dalton a year out from the 1999 vote.  A gov being down between elections isn’t unusual.

      • Yeah, ‘hating govt’ is a ritual thing…the most popular leaders ever were complained about on any given day…but people voted for them when it came down to it.

  2. That pretty much sums it up, I think. 

    To my mind, an oversimplified vision of this election is nonetheless a pretty accurate reflection of why what just happened, happened.  Regardless of the actual accuracy of these statements or this impression, my personal experience of the 2011 Ontario election was basically: 1) Dalton McGuinty telling me, “Look, I know I’m not popular, and I’ve enacted policies that many don’t like (hello, HST!) but our schools are doing great, we’ve gone from having the longest surgery wait times in the country to the shortest, and as bad as things are in the economy, we’ve still created more jobs than the rest of the country combined”, and 2) The Tories telling me, “Vote for us, or the foreigners will take your jobs and the gays will take your children”. 

    Again, not to say that this is even a remotely accurate assessment of the actual virtues of the Liberals or the vices of the Tories, but that’s really the overall impression I’m left with from the two parties’ campaigns.  Every T.V. ad seemed to feature Dalton McGuinty.  Half with him seeming to look me in the eye and speak earnestly to me in front of a plain white background, and half with grainy pictures of him on a black background with lots of scary words, and worrying sex talk. 

    Frankly, a small part of me kinda wishes McGuinty really was in league with nefarious overseas forces, and secretly pushing a radical homosexual agenda.  THAT would be kinda interesting.  Luckily for him, he’s just WAY too bland for that type of attack to stick.

    • Well Ernie Eves lost by calling Dalton an “evil reptilian kitten-eater from another planet”.  LOL

      Tory lost, right out of the gate, by promising public funding for any and all religious schools.

      Hudak lost by calling Ontarians ‘foreigners’, and by promising chain gangs, the defunding of abortion, the cancelling of contracts, protectionism and tossing out all-day kindergarten.

      • All true. Makes me wonder what the last three elections would have been like with a better opponent for him.

        • Oh I’ve heard THAT tune before. With both Mr. Chretien and Mr. Harper being the beneficiary! 

          It is what it is, brother.

          • Indeed.

        • Well a ‘better opponent’ would mean someone with better ideas…and nobody has any apparently.

          Chain gangs aren’t any kind of idea at all.

          • Real chain gangs, with real chains?  That would be something.

    • McGuinty is a shameless, obnoxious SOB – the HST transition rebate cheques arriving over the past week with a cheery letter signed “Sincerely, Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario” were particularly egregious – but with a gormless opponent, that’s not enough to lose.

      This is the second provincial election in a row I’ve declined my ballot, because the PC campaign was Just. So. Stupid. It’s hard to screw up worse than John Tory, but they managed it. And even then, if not for the OH NOES! THE QUEERS ARE RECRUITING IN OUR SCHOOLS! pandering, I might well have sucked it up and voted for the no-hoper in Ottawa Centre…

      • They even sent me a cheque (check?) down here too….extra postage no less! Mind you, I declined to vote this time around. Not sure who I would have cast my ballot for though. 

        Thoroughly agree with you on the last comment.

      • I guess the lesson for non-McGuinty fans in this election was “You can’t keep a bad man down”.

        LOL

      • Well, if you’re not voting conservative, then that’s the election loss right there, because you appear to me to be a bona-fide conservative who follows politics and who cares about elections.
        Which somewhat confirms my suspicions, it looks like nobody really likes Hudak. His platform is a non-entity, without any serious differences from the Liberals, without any serious conservative principles, and without any serious principles whatsoever.  Why has the PC party in Ontario become so incompetent?

        • I think you summed it up nicely.  On the issues people actually cared about (i.e. economics) there was precious little difference between the Tories and the Liberals, frankly.  No real incentive for McGunity haters to get off the couch for McGuinty light, and no real reason for anyone willing to hold their nose and vote Liberal not to stick with the Devil they know.

        • I’m disappointed by everyone, and at this point am really more social liberal-mild libertarian. When I vote Conservative it’s because they demonstrate the least contempt for me as an individual, but when the leader starts actively pandering to fundamentalists and/or homophobes – and clearly pandering, too, not actually seeming to care that much personally – I’m out.

          (Seriously. Hudak defending those bats*** insane flyers claiming we have an agenda to brainwash and pervert the first graders was the last straw, for me.)

          • Interesting that probably the worst part of that last bit in many people’s minds is that he defended the crazy “foreigners are coming for your jobs, and the gays for your children” stuff even though it’s reasonably clear that he doesn’t even BELIEVE it!!!  If one’s going to defend something crazy, one needs to at least commit to BEING CRAZY.

            Being batsh** crazy is one thing, but PRETENDING to be batsh** crazy is just childish.

          • I’d say pretending to be batsh** crazy is batsh** crazy.

      • Thee HST transition rebate cheques arriving over the past week with a
        cheery letter signed “Sincerely, Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario”
        were particularly egregious
        .

        I agree, but to whatever extent they helped stop us from going down the B.C. path of reversing course on the HST I can cut them a LITTLE slack.  The cheques were tacky, and sleezy (not so much the rebates themselves, but how they were framed, as you suggest) but I do give McGunity credit for standing by and defending the HST transition on the basis of it being good economic policy.  The cheques aside, I think McGuinty was pretty frank and upfront about the HST and it’s implications (the Tories own election ads had a clip of McGunity saying “Some things will cost more” which just reminded me every time I saw it of how (comparatively) honest McGuinty was on the HST) and our Premier was obviously EXPONENTIALLY more honest and up front about the HST than a certain other provincial Premier / Liberal government I could name!

        • An underrated factor in the BC fiasco imo was the timing; obviously the lying and the lying about the lying was ‘the’ biggie, but introducing a tax shift at a time when the recession’s effects were still being felt was political sucide. If Campbell had waited until a year or so things might have gone differently but they seemed to be just too greedy for the federal govt’s bribe…er compensation.

          • I guess waiting might have helped, but I’m not sure.  Campbell did come right out and say he wasn’t going to do it after all, and then completely reversed himself.  I’m not totally convinced that the 180 would have been all that much better received a year later.  People in Ontario may hate the HST change too, but at least McGuinty had the guts to, for the most part, say “We’re gonna harmonize sales taxes with the feds because we think it’s the right thing to do, and I’m afraid some stuff is going to cost you more money afterwards because of it”.

          • I agree with all you’ve said, though Campbell also had the unique bad fortune of the far right AND the political left in BC dumping all over him and organizing the anti-HST campaign.  I mean, when the co-chairs of the campaign are a former Socred Premier (Vander Zalm) AND the province’s pre-eminent NDP hack (Bill Tieleman), you’ve got trouble.  It reminds me of that scene near the end of Macbeth, where virtually everyone Macbeth has ever known is marching toward his castle with the intention of killing him.

      • I considered declining mine too, but in the end tossed the Greens a bone.

    • Even the Tories’ ads seemed to reflect that idea of McGuinty as a serious person (the one the Tories kept playing that had him saying “Some things will cost more”.)  Given my inclination to like politicians who are willing to tell the electorate uncomfortable truths, and my dislike of attack ads, those actually made me like McGuinty more.

      (Still voted NDP though, even though I’m in McGuinty’s riding so it wasn’t going to have an effect.)

      • Actually, your vote had just as much effect as anyone else’s in your riding.

        • Actually no, some votes had the effect of choosing the winner, other votes had no effect on the result.

      • Yeah, I laughed every time I saw that ad.

        “So, Tories, what you’re telling me is, that while Dalton McGuinty is telling me that some things are going to cost me more money in the future, YOU can assure me that you can cut my taxes while not cutting spending”.

        OK then.  LOL

  3. Just like after the debates: Dalton didn’t lose. The others didn’t win.

  4. If 49.2% turnout (Ontario 2011) is “extremely low”, Paul, what do you call 41.3% (Alberta 2008)?  (These are preliminary figures in both cases, since voters who registered at the polls have yet be added to the number of eligible voters.)

    • With respect to the AB vote I don’t think they’ve decided yet which narrative to run with: The turn out was so low because people were complacent and basically happy, or the turn out was so low because many people despaired that their vote would bring any sort of change anyway. It is an odd place Alberta. It seems to be more effective to buy a PC membership and infuence the choice of premier than to waste your time buggering around with opposition party stuff – particularly if you’re a liberal  [ i think the liberals won the premiership actually. Wonder if they'll win the election too?  ]It’s a sort of benign version of the old communist party card system cept without most of the strong arm stuff. A one party province that still functions like a democacy…amazing really. To be fair other provinces have operated in similar ways from time to time. Still, you think the turn out would be 110% wouldn’t you?

      • Part of the blame for the Alberta situation, IMO, has to be laid at the feet of the opposition parties over the years. (I lived there for many years but no longer do)  The opposition parties in Alberta have typically demonstrated very little imagination in offering up a credible alternative to the PCs.  I can’t think of a significant or memorable policy plank that an Alberta opposition party has ever offered up.  And generally, the opposition parties have offered up miquetoast duds for leaders.  Notably, the only exception was probably former Alberta Liberal leader Lawrence Decore, and, surprise surprise, he did better than any of them at the polls.

        Consider Brian Mason, Alberta NDP leader — the guy used to run as a Communist (in fact, I remember him being on the ballot).  I mean, let’s get serious, kids — a barely reconstructed communist running as premier of Alberta for a major party?  That is just not going to fly.

        • I don’t think you can offer up anyhing different really.You couldn’t run BC on a completely unfriendly anti logging ticket for instance.  Let’s be honest, oil interests rule[ not wholy bad at all] If the NDP ran the place they’d just shore up the unions and play around with social policy a bit but change nothing in relation to the oilsands – same for the liberals. Perhaps i’m too cynical, both parties might at least make a sincere attempt at balancing the environment and big business – maybe even scale back , slow down the pace of development; but once peole realized that meant less money for atvs and stuff the crap would really hit the fan.You’d need to be brave indeed. One of my big beefs with politics [ particularly on the left/liberal side of things] today is the pretense that stricter environmental standards[ which i think we need badly] will not cost the economy in the short term even if there’s a long term payoff. That’s understandably a tough tough sell – make do with less people cuz it is the right thing to do – so everyone fudges or pretends there’s a painfree way. We need some brave politicians. The public is smarter then they’re generally given credit for.
          If you’re sceptical that oil interest rule see what happened to Stelmach. He tried to reform the royalty regime[ which is arguably too generous to business] and the writing was on the wall for him. Wonder if Redford got the message? If she didn’t expect a big surge for the wildrose come election time.

          • Of course oil interests rule.  My entire family that’s back there is employed, either directly or indirectly, in the industry.  So are most peoples’ families there.  It’s the golden goose there.

            Look, I probably would have liked the royalty regime to funnel more money into government coffers there, but the fact of the matter is that a ton of Albertans work in the industry, and Stelmach’s proposed increases in the royalties were unpopular with industry leaders — and a significant feature of Alberta society is that they put great stock in what their industry leaders think.  And their industry leaders aren’t a bunch of foreigners/Americans in black top hats, capes and curly pencil-thin moustaches.  Their industry leaders are overwhelmingly home-grown Albertans, people like Gwyn Morgan, Murray Edwards, the Seaman Brothers and Jim Gray.  These are immensely trusted and respected people in Alberta.  That’s something quite unique about Alberta, the fact that by and large, they don’t see the oil industry as some evil corporate presence running their lives.  And I think a large part of that is that the oil industry is one industry that still produces good, well-paying middle class jobs in the home jurisdiction.  I’ve worked for oil companies, and they’re generally good employers with good management-employee relations.  You don’t hear a lot of stories about oil companies being bad places to work or paying lousy wages, etc.

            I think that goes some way to the reason why a lot of people from other provinces don’t understand the situation in Alberta — if you’re working in some dysfunctional workplace in New Brunswick, Quebec or Ontario for middling wages, or you’re in some union shop where management-employee relations are toxic and everybody on the shop floor loathes management, it’s difficult to imagine a place where people don’t generally see things that way.

          • I don’t think the relationship’s as hunky dory as tha, as far as trust goes,t but i general i would agree. I worked the patch myself as a youngster[ i wasn't mechanically inclined and didn't like the noise so only stayed for brief stints to make some extra cash] and always had mixed feelings about it. Back in the eighties almost all the guys were off the farm and the best of people, hardworking, tough and sometimes surpisingly liberal. The enviro standards weren’t great but had improved alot by the time i went back briefly in the nineties. So i’m not down on the industry – just leery of the amount of power it has. The logging industry in BC was similarly a good employer. But they got greedy and corrupt and did make mistakes that continue to be problematic today. It’s my view that Lougheed has it right – scale back the pace of the oil sands, take the time to plan and fix the environmental problems and many of Alberta’s woes will at least become manageable.  

          • I think I agree with everything you say there.  But logging and oil and gas are two very different industries, not just in terms of what they do (obviously), but more importantly in terms of their overall culture, work force composition and history.  There’s an excellent sociology paper (I know, insert snarky anti-social sciences remark here) written several decades ago in which the author convincingly (IMO) argued that you can explain the vast differences in Alberta and BC’s political cultures precisely on account of the fact that those are the two main historical industries in each respective province.

            Forestry was traditionally unionized, and the IWA remains a force in BC.  Oil and gas traditionally never was, and unions remain relatively (note “relatively”) unimportant as a social and political force in Alberta.  Oil and gas also produces relatively more middle class and upper middle class white collar jobs than forestry does.  Oil and gas, especially these days, lends itself to entrepreneurship — a relatively small number of entrepreneurs can start an oil and gas company, it happends all too frequently in Calgary, and people often succeed.  There’s nothing comparable in forestry, it just has different economics altogether.

            So it’s no surprise that those two linchpin industries have produced vastly different cultures (and especially political cultures) in those two provinces, despite them being side by side.

          • Reply OB
            I wonder how different the two industries are really. Sure the unions are stronger in BC[ although the unions have quite a bit of pull, at least for skilled guys , in Fort Mac. But i don’t quite agree on the spin off stuff. Until they delinked the cutting rights from local milling the spin offs and tax base were huge and far reaching in even small communities like say Youbou. I’m not an expert but the decision to favour raw log exports has been a disaster for rural BC. They may not have always made the most economic sense but tell that to a guy who has to travel to AB or northern BC to work the oil/gas industry. I’m hoping an NDP govt would reverse that decision, since they were the buggers that screwed it up in the first place. But it might be too late in any case, the logging companies probably have much less headaches this way and bettter profits.

  5. It seems to me this election confirms that people don’t care about deficits until it’s a crisis and it’s long past the point of being fixable. 

    Greece is a perfect example of this, and so is Ontario.

    Thanks to Mcguinty, Ontario deficits have ballooned to 15 billion, which works out to $1153 per person.  The debt is 220 billion, which is $16,000 per person.  If you count per worker, it’s $2000 per person annually and $30,000 debt per worker total.

    The federal debt is $16,000 per person, or $20,000 per worker.  So the overall debt per worker in Ontario is about $50,000, well over a year’s total earnings, and it is growing with no signs of abatement.

    Today, the bond markets don’t seem to care.  But there will come a day when they do care, and it will be too late then, and this election proves it.

    • Yet Hudak didn’t seem terribly interested in talking about that, from what I could see.

      • Sheer incompetence.

        • Yup.

    • Thanks to Mcguinty, Ontario deficits have ballooned to 15 billion, which
      works out to $1153 per person.  The debt is 220 billion, which is
      $16,000 per person.  If you count per worker, it’s $2000 per person
      annually and $30,000 debt per worker total.

      The federal debt is
      $16,000 per person, or $20,000 per worker.  So the overall debt per
      worker in Ontario is about $50,000, well over a year’s total earnings,
      and it is growing with no signs of abatement.

      Well, I certainly like the “thanks to McGuinty” part, lol.

      I think part of the point here is that it’s not just Ontario though.  It’s hard to get worked up about the “McGuinty deficit” being $15 billion when no one really got all that worked up when the “Harper deficit” was almost $60 billion.  Even today, the federal deficit is still around $36 billion I believe, and the message from the feds is mostly “don’t worry, it’s under control”.  Ontario’s population is roughly 40% of Canada’s, and Ontario is acknowledged to have been hit harder by the financial crisis and economic downturn than any other province, so I don’t think it’s realistic to expect voters who aren’t panicking (and are being told not to panic) about a federal deficit or debt of X, to suddenly take issue with a provincial deficit or debt of roughly 0.4X.  I think that on the deficit/debt people have been conditioned by the feds to think it’s not a big deal in today’s economic climate, so they mostly figure it’s not a big deal.

      In other words, I think to the (less partisan than us) average voter, the $15 billion Ontario deficit that’s “thanks to McGuinty” is taken in context of the $60 billion federal deficit that was “thanks to Harper”, and in that context it isn’t seen as that big of a deal.

      • Actually, I seem to recall many people getting worked up about the Harper deficit.  It was being discussed on a daily basis.  At least it was being discussed.

        Yes, Mcguinty is reponsible for the ballooning part of the Ontario deficit.

        Ontario Liberal budgets

        2003 – 2004  -5.5 billion 
        2004 – 2005  -1.6 billion
        2005 – 2006  -1.4 billion
        2006 – 2007  +2.3 billion
        2007 – 2008  +0.6 billion
        2008 – 2009  -6.4 billion
        2009 – 2010  -19.3 billion
        2010 – 2011   -14.0 billion
        2011 – 2012   -16.3 billion

        I don’t have all the figures for the federal govt

        2008-09 -6 billion
        2009-10 -55 billion
        2010-11 -34 billion.

        Anyway, I do seem to recall everybody and anybody complaining about Harper’s deficits.  And I do know that the Harper govt has outlined a plan to return to balanced budgets, while Mcguinty has done no such thing.

        As for your excuse that poor Ontario had a poor economy, even more reason to get the deficit under control, and you can also assign a lot of the blame to Mcguinty for Ontario’s economy.

        Anyway, what’s your point? That the voters should be blaming Harper for Mcguinty’s deficits? Or that provincial deficits don’t matter? That seems to be what you’re saying.

        I was saying that there appears to be no credible plan for getting Ontario’s finances in order from any party, and that the voters don’t seem to care, or even know about it, or even think about it. Quebec has the same problem too.

        • There was just an article in the Report on Business yesterday, in which the IMF basically gave the Harper Government a thumbs up (though not an enthusiastic one) for its plans to reduce the deficit.  Nobody is talking completely straight on this issue (politicians rarely do), but right now, the feds look more credible on this issue than McGuinty does.

          • That’s certainly true.  However, I think there’s a STRONG argument to be made that McGuinty, for all his lack of credibility, STILL looked more credible than Hudak did.

          • I’d say this campaign was unique for the number of editorials, articles, etc. that basically said something like:  they all sort of suck, they’re all lying about govt finances, but . . . McGuinty’s probably the best of a bad lot etc.

            No wonder voter turnout was so low.  Talk about uninspiring.

        • Sorry, I don’t think I was clear in what I meant.  I was talking most about what average run of the mill voters were likely hearing/thinking, imho.

          I didn’t mean so much to make an argument as to the LEGITIMACY of equating the Ontario deficit to the Federal deficit, or of how much blame should be assigned to McGuinty and/or Harper for the existence of said deficits, or plans to eliminate them or lack thereof, etc…  All I really meant to say is that to the AVERAGE voter (and, let’s face it, the average voter, regardless of partisanship, isn’t as informed about this stuff as us geeks commenting here at Macleans… let alone “experts”) I think they mostly hear that McGuinty’s got a big deficit, and Harper’s got a big deficit, and Harper doean’t seem worried, and McGunity doesn’t seem worried…  that sort of thing.

          As for the ballooning deficit being “thanks to McGuinty”, of course I acknowledge that it’s happened on his watch, and of course he’s responsible for what happens in Ontario, my point was simply that the deficit didn’t just magically appear out of the blue one morning with no context “thanks to McGuinty”.  There was that whole “economy falling off the side of a cliff” thing back in 2008.  All I really meant there was that for McGunity (AND for Harper, I hasten to add) I think that pretty much everyone acknowledges that to a certain extent some of that was out of their control.  That it kinda HAD to be done.  Now, did they have to do so much?  Should they have had a contingency fund in place so that they wouldn’t have needed to go so far in to deficit when the bad times came (if only someone had thought of THAT back in the 90s, eh?)?  Did they use the deficit funds in a useful way to help the economy?  Do they have a plan for getting out of deficit… all completely valid questions/points.  I just don’t think it’s fair to say that “McGuinty’s responsible for the ballooning deficit” without explicitly acknowledging Wall Street melting down and the manufacturing sector getting kicked in the teeth, any more than I think it’s fair to lay all the blame for the federal deficit at the feet of Harper/Flaherty without acknowledging the circumstances.  My point was simply that in the context of the economic turmoil of 2008-now, our deficits don’t seem as crazy as they might in another context, nor are they as much of motivating factor for people’s voting behavior.

          I’d also point out that Hudak’s plan for dealing with this was basically “do everything Dalton McGuinty says he’ll do, except cut taxes faster and deeper”, and I don’t think many people were buying the “I can cut your taxes and eliminate the deficit without effecting programs” line.  Not after Rob Ford started talking about severe service cuts within weeks of promising on the campaign trail that he GUARANTEED no service cuts.  McGuinty’s deficit plan may have been essentially zero, but Hudak’s was negative one.

  6. Dalton has kept on keeping on. We should not allow ourselves to be distracted by initiatives and policy stands as most of them are works in progress. Dalton has endurance, stability and strength of character. He need not be entertaining although some of his anecdotes are very funny. Many Ontarians are feeling the winds of change in a  big way. Re-electing Dalton was a reassurance for many of us – the economy of Ontario will be nurtured and also protected as much as possible with the Ontario Liberals in power.

    • You know that tone and repeating “Dalton” like a mantra tends to come off as if you’re an official North Korean Joyful Prosperity Truth Newsman, right?

      • What, you weren’t aware of the 500 foot high gold-plated statue of The Dear McGuinty that’s being erected on the lawn at Queen’s Park?

        • I hear they`re hiring the same sculptor as is being used for the Harper state in Ottawa!

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