Friday, September 07, 2012

Not Such A Bright Idea

Dalton McGuinty scored on his own goal yesterday, when his party came in a distant third in Kitchener-Waterloo. Having engineered the by-election, by offering the sitting MP -- Conservative Elizabeth Witmer -- a plum government appointment, he then proceeded to attack the province's teachers as the enemies of austerity.

Throughout his tenure, McGuinty has had no more reliable allies than Ontario's teachers. But, having been made a political football more than once, this time the teachers were determined not to be kicked around.  Their votes went to NDP candidate Catherine Fife.

One wonders if federal Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre is paying attention. Yesterday he introduced a plan to allow public servants to opt out of paying union dues. Incensed by PSAC's recent support of the PQ in the Quebec election,  he claims that the civil service should be a right to work zone.

Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, was quick to respond:

This is the Conservatives using their power they currently enjoy to hurt their potential opponents. It’s the bully-state in action and apparently it’s the labour movement’s turn for a shakedown," said Georgetti.

Politicians have shaken down unions ever since a former president of the Screen Actors Guild became president of the United States. And, south of the border, the war against unions -- particularly public service unions -- is proceeding with a vengeance. It was inevitable that the war would cross our border.

But yesterday's results in K-W suggest that the war may have a different outcome in Canada. Poilievre would be wise to reconsider his proposal. One suspects that Dalton McGuinty would tell him that it's not a very bright idea.


Lorne said...

The Bible says that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Perhaps our political 'masters' would be wise to begin fearing the electorate, Owen.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Lorne. The message from last night is that power rests with the people. They only loan it to those they elect.

kirbycairo said...

Conservative like Poillievre have always been determined to bring back the "good old days" when children worked in factories.

The irony is that many Liberals are like-minded, though they continually attempt to portray themselves as more humane and forward looking. But over the past few years the Liberals Parties in this country have demonstrated that they are no different from the Conservatives and would take us back into the dark age.

One only need read Liberal Bloggers to see that they wear the same stripes as the Tories. Thus their disappearance as a party federally, and I suspect their gradual disappearance from provincial politics as well. We just don't need two Tory parties.

Owen Gray said...

It's a little disconcerting to see young Mr. Poillievre acting like such a bitter old man, Kirby.

And, if the Liberals wish to survive, they must remember their progressive roots. If they don't, they have no future.

Anonymous said...

One has to wonder what McG is up to, eh?

Before this, there were two incidents: his supporting Harper on the HST and on having the G8 meeting in Toronto.

Sometimes, it looks he may actually be tired and looking for a way out.

Owen Gray said...

I suspect he's been moving slowly to the exit sign, Anon.

The results in yesterday's by-elections may speed up his departure.