Wanted. Fall guy (or girl). Good at cleaning up the mess of others. Must be hard-working, self-starter, work with minimal supervision. Ideal candidate should be able to communicate well with others, handle criticism well, and not expect the job to last for long. The above job description is how Dalton McGuinty should have started off his "I Quit" announcement on October 15th.
South Dundas - October 17, 2012 - Wanted. Fall guy (or girl). Good at cleaning up the mess of others. Must be hard-working, self-starter, work with minimal supervision. Ideal candidate should be able to communicate well with others, handle criticism well, and not expect the job to last for long. Candidates should expect failure, resentment, and diminished ability to be hired after the job concludes, but it pays well while you have the job. References preferred but not necessary, we probably know who you are anyway.
The above job description is how Dalton McGuinty should have started off his "I Quit" announcement on October 15th. I don't blame him however for not using it, after all who wants to succeed Dalton McGuinty? Really? I can think of thousands of other jobs I'd rather have than to succeed McGuinty. Yet there are a few people out there who actually think they can pick up the torch of the Liberal Party of Ontario and lead it to victory. Yasir Naqvi, Lauren Broten, Gerard Kennedy, Dwight Duncan, Brad Duguid, Deb Matthews and Kathleen Wynne are names that keep popping up. Even long shots Glen Murray and George Smitherman are being named as potential candidates to succeed "Premier Dad". If any of them put their names in and have the misfortune of being elected leader, and thus becoming Premier, it is political suicide for their careers. How does this columnist know this? Think back to June 25th, 1993 and it should all become clear with this name, Kim Campbell.
Avril Phaedra Douglas "Kim" Campbell, first female Prime Minister of Canada. Was a Member of Parliament from November 21, 1988 until October 25, 1993. Former Defense Minister, Veterans Affairs Minister, Justice Minister and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister. A lawyer and academic, seemingly a great candidate for leader of the Progressive Conservatives and successor for outgoing Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. She even beat out rising star Jean Charest for the job. Come on, a political rock star, how could she not do great things? Campbell's time was mired with cleaning up messes left by her predecessor. The implementation of the GST and the Free Trade Agreement during Mulroney's last term in office left an agitated electorate. People being tired of constitutional wrangling with both Meech Lake and the Charlottetown Accord failing. The Progressive Conservatives simply wore out their welcome with the Canadian people and Campbell, not Mulroney, paid the price for that at the voters booth. Yes Campbell had some missteps during her short, 132 day term as Prime Minister, but she was voted out because people were tired of Mulroney and what he did while in office.
Now return to the mess that is the political reality in Ontario in 2012. In the nine years that Dalton McGuinty has been Premier, the province has gone from, using a sports term, First to Worst. Ontario was the economic engine of the country, a have province, a leader in the country and manufacturing and technological thoroughbred. Now the province is a shambles, a province on welfare, a have-not province. Record debt and deficits, lost jobs, billions wasted, residents moving out of the province, lies, taxes, fees that are taxes but not called taxes, and scandal after scandal.
E-Health, the Health Care "Premium", Ornge Air Ambulance, the Eco-Tax boondoggle, Green Energy, and now the cancellation of two power plants in Mississauga and Oakville. That's just the tip of the iceberg, and Ontario is the Titanic. Who honestly would want to have to clean up this mess?
Lets be perfectly clear, McGuinty IS the Teflon Premier. The elections of 2007 and 2011 prove that nothing sticks to this guy. But he left quickly, and did so just after 20,000+ documents were released at the end of last week about the Ontario Power Authority and the cancellation of those two power plant contracts. Cancellations that happened in two Liberal-held ridings they were trending to lose in the 2011 election, but did not. Two cancellations which the Ontario taxpayer is going to be on the hook for between 250 and 750 million dollars for. What was in those documents that had McGuinty scared? Scared enough to quit, after a great leadership review less than a month ago. Doesn't matter now though, it's not his problem.
The problems, the scandals, the waste, the deficit and the debt all belong to his yet-to-be-named successor, and these are big problems. With a minority government, two opposition parties who are chomping at the bit to take the government to task, limited time and no money to fix anything, good luck to whoever gets the job. They'll need it. Hopefully they'll have enough hours in to collect EI.
Footnote: As to the speculation that McGuinty will run for the federal Liberal leadership, McGuinty wont. It's much more lucrative for him to go into private practice, collect his pension and write a book. However, in the off-chance McGuinty does challenge for the leadership, and wins, it would do more damage to the federal Liberals than all of the Chretien/Martin in-fighting and Dion/Ignatieff mis-leadership combined. McGuinty would be the final nail in the Liberal Party of Canada coffin. Good luck with that.