Monday, October 15, 2012

You Will Not See His Like Again

No link yet, but Dalton McGuinty has chosen to retire as leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.  If you are from around the GTA, when you think of him in future--especially during the middle of a summer heat-wave--take a sniff of the air and notice how clean it is.  How you don't get  clouds of smog settling over the city for days, and don't  taste the noxious chemicals in those clouds when you taste your own sweat. That's--partly, not entirely--the smell of coal plants that Dalton has gradually shut down and replaced with something cleaner.  He has by force of Will transformed this province into a manufacturer of green energy tech, a path into the future that, if we stick to it, will position Ontario well for the world to come--if you can't make cars, make wind turbines and solar arrays.  Yes mistakes were made, and yes in recent months they seem to have been piling up, but in the end Mr. McGuinty served his province and country in a manner that can only be described as exemplary.  All hail Dalton McGuinty.

And let the search for a new leader begin.


Yappa said...

Nice post! I like McGuinty - he's a decent guy and he's done an excellent job on balance. I really really don't look forward to an NDP or PC government. I hope he has some help planned in the transition for whoever replaces him.

Marlowe Johnson said...

bcl since warren has decided that he doesn't like my comments i thought i might try posting them here. perhaps we can meet sometime over beers over @Sarah's on the Danforth&Monarch Park to discuss
(p.s. feel free to delete if you don't want to involve yourself)


While you seem hellbent on censoring any POV that doesn't conform with the narrative that you're trying to construct, let me offer the following observations, as someone who has been privy to fairly high level policy discussions in the McGuinty gov since 2005:

- as with most govs, most of the energy in terms of new, aggressive policies petered out after a couple of years (i.e. by 2007).

- the great recession was a game-changer that made the Lib cabinet even more timid than they otherwise would have been.

- they deserve real credit for the coal closure/fit program, but equally real criticism for caving into NIMBYism, and the mandarins at OPG, OPA, etc.

- they also deserve credit for pushing the feds to give Ontario it's fair share after shouldering the lion's share of confederation's burden (oh wait, that sounds too much like a Mulcair line doesn't it?)

- they had a deeply dysfunctional cabinet for the last 5 years (i know from experience) and much of the blame for this dysfunction rightly belongs on the doorstep of the premier's office.

- with their backs to the wall (electorally speaking) they caved into NIMBYism and cancelled 2 power plant projects at significant cost to the tax payer.

- faced with a deficit they decided, against the advice of a well respected economist they themselves commissioned, to unilaterally impose new terms of employment on public sector workers, who collectively make up 12% of the working population. they called these terms a 'wage freeze' despite the fact that any intellectually honest reading of the terms clearly showed that the terms constituted substantial cuts.

- in the aftermath of these latter 2 decisions the liberal party found public support for their government at unteneble levels (i.e. 20% of the vote pre-release of power plant closure documents).

Now I realize that you style yourself as the uber-strategist of the Liberals in Canada, but I admit that I'm at a complete loss on the strategy here. How does cancelling power plants (at a cost of at least $1.5 billion when you take into account the transmission upgrades that will be necessary when they are relocated) combined with a dishonest attack on public sector workers (remember that they all agreed to a wage 'freeze') translate into a winning strategy?

Marlowe Johnson said...

as an aside i blame 30+ years of bad haircuts on Dalton and his father. in the early 80s McGuinty Snr. relocated his riding office to my barber shop at the corner of Kilborn & Virginia in Ottawa. Haven't had a good haircut since ;)

now it may seem petty but it's not like i have a lot of hair left at this point...glory days...

sharonapple88 said...

bcl since warren has decided that he doesn't like my comments i thought i might try posting them here

Trying to communicate to Warren via Big is like the classic Galbraith quote where he compared communicating to the President via the State Department like "fornicating through a mattress."

You have valid points, but to be honest, NIMBYism, wage freeze.... compared to things done under Harris, I'm having a hard time getting that rilied up about this... especially after seeing a number of co-workers fired in the last few months.

Marlowe Johnson said...

sharon your points are well taken :).
as someone who 'really was' a lib supporter for the last ten years it galls me to see the level of dishonesty and craven behaviour that the libs have sunk to. i expect that from the cons and the ndp to a lesser degree, not the libs. in my own little fishbowl view of the world, what distinguished McGuinty -- for all his warts -- was his relative commitment to honesty with the electorate. once you toss that out the window in favour of machiavellian electoral calculus you'll inevitably get squeezed by your opponents on both sides. IOW honesty and credibility are the core components of the libs brand. once you lose either of those...