Sunday, May 04, 2014
Things Could Get Very Nasty
Kathleen Wynne has three opponents in Ontario's election -- Tim Hudak, Andrea Horwath and Stephen Harper. Her budget represents everything that Harper abhors -- government spending to stimulate the economy, an expanded pension plan and higher taxes on the wealthy.
Mr. Harper immediately dismissed the Ontario Pension Plan. And, yesterday, Joe Oliver told Evan Solomon that Wynne's budget was "the route to economic decline, not the route to economic growth or job creation."
Wynne is a threat to Harper because Ontario's provincial and federal ridings are congruent. Mike Harris engineered that bit of business to, he said, save money. If Wynne returns as premier, she threatens the very beachhead that Harper worked so hard to establish. That beachhead gave him his majority.
Wynne, for her part, has said that Harper appears to be "taking over the Conservative voice in the Ontario election." If that happens -- and Tim Hudak is seen as Harper's stalking horse -- there could be a wave of revulsion among Ontario voters. Ottawa traditionally has stayed out of provincial elections. The prime minister had nothing to do with the recent Quebec election.
But Stephen Harper has little regard for tradition. And he has a history of smearing those he sees as his enemies. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court it only the latest target of Harper's paranoia. Moreover, Dalton McGuinty left the Prime Minister's Office lots of material to spin.
Before voters go to the polls on June 12th, things could get very nasty.