THUNDER BAY -Editorial – Premier Dalton McGuinty says he can not make the Northern Ontario Leaders Debate. In fact that decision was made on August 16th, according to Michael Gravelle. The Liberals state that they offered to have someone else attend on behalf of Dalton McGuinty. That hardly meets the criteria of a Leaders Debate.
The unanswered question from the Liberals is a simple one. If Dalton McGuinty decided on August 16th that he was not attending the debate in Thunder Bay, what event is he attending that he was apparently already scheduled to attend?
Is it a campaign rally? A fund-raiser? A family birthday?
Or is the Premier simply stepping away from the North, and taking voters for granted? The Premier has yet to share with anyone exactly what it is that he has committed to that he can’t change.
Political campaigns are not written in granite, they are fluid and flexible. Things change, often on the spur of the moment.
Northerners deserve to know what the Premier had planned for that day.
NetNewsledger.com will be live-streaming the debate from the Valhalla Inn so that more people can see the debate than just the audience in attendance at the NOMA Conference.
The Progressive Conservatives have actually offered to pay for Premier McGuinty to attend via video conference.
The issue of the Premier not attending the NOMA debate could end up being a critical campaign moment, especially for Michael Gravelle as the likeable Minister for Northern Development, Mines and Forestry faces challenges from the NDP and PCs.
It is also likely an issue not going away anytime soon. On Friday, a week before the debate, NDP leader Andrea Horwath will be back in Thunder Bay for another stop in the riding.
The message may be that the New Democrats are seeing weakness in the Liberal campaign and will be targeting the region even harder.
The PCs are set to pounce on the Premier as ‘out of touch’ with the region.
Dalton McGuinty has set his Liberal candidates in Northwestern Ontario up with a political spike belt that could tear apart the tires on their campaigns. One really has to wonder what could be so important to the Ontario Liberals that it almost appears their Leader is tossing a Minister under the bus?
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