05.09.2014 07:41 AM

Your morning Ontario election news (updated)

This is all you need to know.  Oh, and Hudak is doing a lot better after his two initial flubs. Prediction for next few days: Harper PMO are going to come up with an embarrassing bit of news to payback Wynne for her recent swings in their direction. It’ll be nasty, because they do nasty well.

 UPDATE: Well, so much for my view that Hudak has done okay in the past few days – with his announcement that he plans to cut 20 per cent of the jobs/services in government, his Million Job Plan has undergone drastic weight reduction.  And this election is now officially between Wynne and Horwath alone, methinks.



  1. sezme says:

    A quibble, but if Horwath becomes perceived as centrist and thus becomes more popular, it won’t be because Salutin and Ryan have made her so. It will because she’s managed to move her party to where the electorate is, while Wynne is hoping to move the electorate to where her party is. Wynne is proposing to Try New Things, a tactic that has often failed the NDP in the past at election time, while the NDP now seems content to propose a few tweaks to the status quo, which has always seemed a Liberal thing. Funny how times have changed.

    Unlike the “old lefties” you named above, I don’t see this as necessarily a betrayal of my values, because ultimately all governments behave according to their principles within the constraints of what they believe the electorate will let them get away with, and there’s something to be said for winning.

  2. Matt says:

    So what do you think the logic is behind Wynne going after Harper?

    Is it as simple as her doing whatever she can to try and avoid talking about the Liberals record?

    • Warren says:

      Probably. She hasn’t scored any hits, however.

      Harper knows he can’t get too involved, or it’ll help her. So look for a leak of something really unhelpful to the Libs when people are paying attention, closer to the debate.

      • Matt says:

        Just a thought:

        If your Hudak, would you embrace her trying to say you and Harper are the same?

        Harper’s government eliminated a $55 billion deficit (one I grant they created under the gun of the opposition) by making the necessary, tough decisions the Wynne and her Liberals refuse to make.

        • Warren says:

          Nope. Hudak needs to:

          1. Promote team and plan, because he knows the PC leader ain’t popular.
          2. Focus on the big world outside Toronto, and facilitate Lib/NDP splits wherever possible.
          3. Talk – over and over – about the biggest issue for any Ontario person: the economy. Nothing else.

          From what I see, he’s doing all three. And, moreover, he’s eliminated his Klees problem, his Hillier problem, his Kouvalis/Ciano problem, and his crazy labour policy problem.

          Until that bad music studio event last week, he hadn’t made a big mistake since last Fall.

          • Dipper says:

            But you well know that Ontario elections are won or lost in the GTA with it’s preponderance of ridings. McGuinty did this in all his victories and that’s what Wynne and Horwath are trying to do, except in Horwath’s case she will win outside of the GTA, and by adopting a more centrist approach she will win GTA ridings too. Wynne will lose to Hudak outside the GTA thus allowing Horwath to ride to victory.

          • Al in Cranbrook says:

            I think Hudak just laid down the defining issue of this election…


            Game on.

          • sezme says:

            I think Al is right about Hudak laying down the defining issue of the campaign with his plan to cut 100,000 public sector jobs including and especially *teachers*. Even the commenters at the National Post can’t stomach it for the most part. Looks like he’s getting ready to pull a John Tory move by finding an unpopular position and sticking with it. Well, we’ll see if he sticks with it, but he said it out loud during the campaign so it’ll be hard to pull back. Suddenly Horwath’s strategy of trying to look like the responsible adult might start working for her.

          • Al in Cranbrook says:

            Thinking Ontario is long overdue for a serious dose of this…and I’ll bet it’s a winning strategy.

            Varying degrees of this worked for BC under G. Campbell, certainly in Alberta under Klein, and again in Sask. under Brad Wall (whom is my pick to succeed Harper one day.)

            The proverbial pendulum swings, and it’s stuck on the left side of Ontario politics for arguably far too long. A massive correction is the order of the day.

            Get ready for copious amounts of hysterical wailing and gnashing of teeth, primarily from the unions.

            Which will, I suspect, garner very little sympathy outside their ranks.

          • sezme says:

            Think about the hole Hudak has dug for himself, though. First he identified that unemployment is a major problem in Ontario with his “million” jobs plan. That gets voters thinking about unemployment and worried about their own jobs. Now every voter out there from hard left to hard right knows full well that that promise of “one million” jobs is an extremely hypothetical number that has a vanishingly small chance of being fulfilled by any government outside of maybe China’s.

            Now having made the claim that Ontario needs one million potential new jobs in the long term, he’s proposing to eliminate 100,000 real jobs that already exist in the short term. There will indeed be hysterical gnashing of teeth, but not just from the unions. It will be from anyone who cares about education or about the economy. Please explain how that’s a winning strategy.

          • Warren says:

            See my update! His election chances have just gone on a crash diet!

          • Al in Cranbrook says:

            Using the 20% reference, my math suggests that Ontario has a larger public sector workforce than the federal government????


          • sezme says:

            I’m not vouching for Warren’s or Al’s math! Lets just say that he plans to lay off the entire working population of Oshawa. I’m sure Hudak has double-checked his math with a winning policy like that, right?

          • Al in Cranbrook says:

            If he manages to cut the public sector down by half that much, add half the jobs he’s talking about, kill the deficit, get rid of the green energy fiasco that’s driving costs through the roof, get taxes back in line, and return Ontario to some respectable level of prosperity, taxpayers will be thrilled.

            It would be folly to assume that a majority of voters, considering the current state of Ontario’s economy and fortunes, won’t be willing to at least give him a crack at it.

          • Kelly says:

            Except everyone remembers the mess Harris and Hudak made of Ontario last time. Kids doubling up on textbooks, new hospital waiting lists, freeway boondoggles and fat bonuses paid to consultants for figuring out how to to cut welfare and throw people on the street. And they still created a big deficit in the end. Especially at the provincial level government spending has exactly the same economic effect ad private spending. The only difference is what the money is spent on. But public is often better since you get infrastructure and valuable services first then the money those workers earn is spent in the private sector too. It’s called the multiplier effect. You just have to ensure tax levels are high enough in order to avoid deficits. Look at Norway Sweden Denmark etc. High taxes very low unemployment and some of the world’s most competitive economies. Conservatives simply don’t know what they’re talking about on economics. Their goal is to concentrate wealth and privilege in the hands of the already wealthy (primarily white men.) Hudak is basically a tool. (Or a know-nothing. You choose.)

    • !o! says:

      1) Harper and the federal cons are unpopular, attacking and being attacked by them can’t hurt, especially when the stakes are framed as being about what’s good for Ontario.
      2) It squeezes Hudak out of news coverage if comparatively more space is spent on a spat between Wynne and the federal gov’t. Front and center is Wynne vs. the nasty federal cons, while Hudak does something else somewhere.

  3. BrianK says:

    Thoughts on today’s job numbers and how they might affect the Ontario campaign? On its face, seems like almost 29,000 jobs lost under the watch of a Conservative government is going to put Hudak on the defensive. Ontario is actually looking ok among the provinces. National job losses should provide some cover for Wynne if/when she gets asked about the Unilever plant closing…obviously no one’s happy to see people lose their jobs, but from a purely political perspective a story like that should be catnip for Hudak.

  4. Krago says:

    So what’s your professional opinion on the latest hit single from the PC candidate in Windsor-Tecumseh (Brandon Wright, lead guitarist for ‘Final Stage’)?


  5. TrueNorthist says:

    I will admit up front that by being way out here on the left side of the country I am somewhat ignorant of Ontario politics, but to me it appears that ordinary folks will be looking to hang on to whatever meagre financial perks they may be getting under the Liberals and will stay clear of anyone who even hints at cutting them off. Mr Hudak has a steep hill to climb on that front and with his poor personal numbers I just don’t see the PCs succeeding much with an austerity message. Hudak doesn’t yet have a conservative base to count on and has to win it by pushing austerity and that will hurt him everywhere else. Tricky game to play.

  6. David says:

    Hi! I wrote a new blog post. You should read! You’ll be an even better Liberal two days later after reading it!

    Read it. Do it now.

    Or I’ll go back to comparing you to Bill Murray!

  7. Al in Cranbrook says:

    Speaking of democracy (…or elections therein), just came across two pertinent quotes, food for thought…

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”

    Possibly, Alexander Tytler (circa late 1700′s)

    “Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.”

    Henning Webb Prentis, Jr., President of the Armstrong Cork Company 1943

    • Adam says:

      An impressive use of the term “possibly” Al, to mean “absolutely not.”

      • Al in Cranbrook says:

        That’s as I copied it in, no additions or alterations from me. I assume it means possibly attributable to Tytler. Whatever, doesn’t change the translation.

  8. Ottlib says:

    I believe this is Mr. Hudak’s election to win. The Wynne Liberals are vulnerable on many fronts and the Horvath NDP are just started from too far back to grab the brass ring.

    However, in order for Mr. Hudak to win the election he needs to hang onto his base and then add to it, which will now be much more difficult with his job cuts announcement. Their are around 500,000 provincial public sector employees and he just announced that if he is elected they can all begin fearing for their jobs. All of those employees have spouses and families, many of whom vote, so you could be looking at up to 1,000,000 employees and family members who now realize that a Hudak government is a direct threat to their livelihood. What’s more, they are spread out over the whole province so they could be the deciding factor in many of the close races the Progressive Conservatives have to win to form the government.

    As well, you can bet your house that the other two parties will be playing up the negative consequences of this plan until the cows come home. By the time they are through with it that 100,000 jobs will have ballooned to half-a-million or more lost jobs as a result of Tim Hudak’s promise.

    Does Mr. Hudak really believe that this is a recipe for winning an election?

    • Matt says:

      If you want the negative consequences of not doing anything about out of control spending, look no further than Detroit.

      Bankruptcy awaits Ontario.

  9. Matt says:

    Re Hudak’s announcement of curring 100,000 public service sector jobs:

    1) His plan for creating 1 million jobs is over 8 years. What if any time frame did he put on cutting the 100,000? If it’s the same 8 years, that’s just over 12,000 per year. Can that be met, or the majority be met by retirements.

    2) The money spent by taxpayers on salary, benifits, pensions for public service workers is simply not sustainable.Something has to be done. Wynne and Horwath want the status quo, or worse increases in wages and number of workers.

    3) He’s pledging smaller government. That is red meat for Conservative voters. All I can say is three people I work with who weren’t going to vote Hudak yesterday now will.

    4) The public service workers aren’t going to vote PC under any circumstances.

    It’s a gamble for sure. But after the greif he took from party members for the 2011 election, it’s one he had to make.

  10. Andy says:

    As a civil service union member, its about time. There is far too much management in government organizations. The civil service is slowly becoming an inverted pyramid with directors, managers and senior managers that really don’t do much other than collect a salary. Staffing levels need to be audited and look at how many people have been taken off grid in order to raise their salaries or moved to positions with vague responsibilities, while front line services are understaffed.

  11. Matt says:

    According to the Globe story you linked Warren, it’s a 9% cut, not 20%.

    “A Globe and Mail analysis of Statistics Canada data shows Mr. Hudak’s cut, if implemented, would reduce the public sector by about 9 per cent, putting it back to its size in early 2007. The sector currently represents roughly 8.4 per cent of the province’s population, falling to 7.6 per cent under Mr. Hudak’s plan.

    Since 2000, the public sector has grown more than twice as fast as the provincial population.”

  12. Steven says:

    Isn’t it a bit rich for Hudak to want to lay waste to the public service, given that he’s been on the public dime for almost all of his working adult life?

    (..and for a sizeable period, his spouse, Ms. Hutton.).

    P.S. I wonder how such a policy will go over in Walkerton.

  13. Clive says:

    A small quibble. 100,000 public *sector* jobs is not 20%, as there are close to 1.5m public sector workers in the province. It’s closer to 6 or 7%. And while I think it’s just a good start and doesn’t go far enough, nonetheless it’s a tone deaf move by Hudak to put it out there in those terms.

  14. Brammer says:

    Hudak’s proposal is equivalent to shutting down every single auto manufacturer in Ontario plus most of the Ontario aerospace industry.

    • Andy says:

      Spin off jobs from manufacturing are far greater.

      Research has for every new service job there are 2 – 3 spin-off jobs created (lower for government jobs), and 3 – 9 spin-off jobs via manufacturing. Which is why the ripple effect is great from the loss of mfg. jobs. On average is about 3 spin-off for 1 created.

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