Scott has a great post dispelling the foolish notion that Rob Ford is harbinger of doom for Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals. He writes:
“Municipal politics are a far cry from provincial politics, and I contend one doesn’t have anything to do with the other. For example, does Nenshi’s election in Calgary as that city’s mayor last week herald a wave of progressivism about to sweep Alberta provincially or federally? Of course it doesn’t, and the same thing applies here; municipal politics – even a high profile mayor’s race in Ontario’s largest city – is irrelevant to the federal or provincial scene.”
I agree right up to the word “irrelevant.” What concerns me about Ford’s win is not that it indicates something about Toronto turning all conservative. But that there will now be an incipient conservative “machine” in Toronto ready for use by Tim Hudak’s provincial Tories and even possibly Harper if the latter calls an election any time soon. During the campaign Ford repeatedly stressed that he had supporters from all parties but what he clearly seems to have done is engage numerous people who have no political affiliation at all. In doing so, Ford has likely amassed a rolodex of people who were not interested in politics before but who have now had the thrill to be part of a winning campaign and could likely be energized again.
Folks, despite Ford’s claim of all-party support, that list of new donors, and new volunteers is not going to be shared with any party other than the Cons. If Toronto’s progressives are not prepared, they may be beaten on their own turf by a newly energized base of volunteers who were previously apolitical but have now been activated by an extreme right-winger.
Today the Ontario government announced a plan to fund transit expansion in and around the GTA. In particular it looks like transit lines for Eglinton Ave and Finch Ave will get the go-ahead. Among other things this means that both Pearson Airport and York University will be served by light rail within the next seven years. This is what Toronto needs as far as transit goes, much more so than the proposals to bring the Yonge-University-Spadina line all the way up to Yonge and Highway 7. While such an extension would bring in more riders, it would also leave Toronto’s rail transit as a skeletal backbone. Such a system means that transit is useful if you commute along one of a handful of established corridors (i.e.: along one of the subway lines) but means that transit is ineffective for those who are not as well served by the existing skeletons.
Dalton McGuinty giveth, and taketh away, and giveth again on minimum wage. Does anyone know what this was about? It seemed like a concession to businesses, and then it was back to listening to anti-poverty groups. Why? This has to be the most clumsily floated trial balloon in Ontario political history. To recap, Dwight Duncan affirmed the raise in the minimum wage to $10.25/hr in the budget, the next day Dalton says maybe not, and now it’s apparently back on. It does nothing to improve anyone’s confidence when it appears as though the premier is just making it up as he goes along.
Bob Rae just quit the leadership race.
Edit: Kind of makes my prior post irrelevant, doesn’t it? I’m not sure what it will mean that the Liberals are now set to have a coronation. What kind of prize is the leadership of the federal Liberals these days? I imagine that the race for McGuinty’s job – when such a thing comes about – will be much more vigorous.
Last week this was my speculation on what would become of the Ontario PCs should they lose the election and should John Tory lose his seat:
“Right now I’m wondering if the mentality of the PCs will be that a moderate (Tory) didn’t work nearly as well as a hardliner (Harris) and in light of that, they may go hunting for another deep blue type of leader.”
Well, it appears that at least Stephen Taylor is thinking along those lines – and almost gleefully:
“If there’s any hope that can come from the results of this election for conservatives, it is that PCs in Ontario will rebuild around offering Ontario clear and articulated conservative policies just in time for what may be a strong desire for change after four more years of McGuinty.”
One can only wonder what those “clear and articulated conservative policies” might be – perhaps some sort of private healthcare (a Frank Klees favourite) or a more radical education platform, maybe a flat tax – but if the Liberals are starting to look a little shopworn in 2011, they may be coming to a Queen’s Park near you.
This comes as no surprise – at least not to me. What remains to be seen:
Will John Tory have a seat?
What of MMP?