Is Dalton McGuinty Leading the Politicians – in broken promises?

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THUNDER BAY – Job creation math is an assignment that politicians get really good at fudging. Take Dalton McGuinty’s promise that the implementation of the HST will create 690,000 jobs over the next ten years as a case in point.

If you do the math, McGuinty is promising that 5,750 jobs a month will be created.

Not once has a single representative of the McGuinty Government ever outlined what kinds of jobs, or when those jobs will be created. All that is important is running that big number up the flagpole and saluting it like it was their new idol.

That Ontario lost 30,000 jobs during July, may not mean, like the Ontario Progressive Conservatives claim that the HST is a failure already, but it puts the McGuinty Government almost six months behind their promise already. That does not bode well for this promise being kept.

Over the next thirteen and a half months, in Ontario residents should be prepared for a steady stream of promises and announcements from the McGuinty Government.

Leading up to the 2011 provincial election, it is likely that Dalton McGuinty will be prepared to say anything and promise anything in order to get re-elected to a third majority mandate.

Make no mistake about it, the Premier does care about jobs, especially his. The Ontario Liberals voted themselves a 40% pay hike only a few years ago. Leading up to the next election they will do what they feel they need to so you vote for them to keep their jobs.

However, maybe, after almost seven years in power it is time to start reviewing the results of McGuinty’s promises.

One of the most ignored promises made by the Premier was his grand promise that “Ontario will lead the world in the development of hydrogen trains”. Made in September 2007 in Thunder Bay during a campaign stop, there has been no action on that promise.

Instead of leading the world in developing new technology, Dalton McGuinty is leading the politicians in breaking promises.

To really understand the depth of that promise, try this, go to Google and search for the terms “Dalton McGuinty” and “Hydrogen”. Put both terms in quotations.

See what comes up. The last time that our Premier appears to have even uttered the word hydrogen was on September 13, 2007 in Thunder Bay. He has apparently abandoned the promise, and the opportunity for Ontario as soon as he left Thunder Bay.

One might have thought that Bill Mauro and Michael Gravelle would have picked up on that promise, and fought to put Thunder Bay at the core of the research, development, and manufacturing of hydrogen powered rail. The international Hydrail working group looked to Ontario and Thunder Bay for leadership in this area.

That leadership was not found in Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario.

If the promise were to have been kept, it could have placed Thunder Bay in a far more stable economic position. We could have seen generations of jobs and research in our region. Voters would reward that kind of effort and results.

The fact is that such an initiative would generate more long-term jobs and more economic stability for the region than building a courthouse or any of the other efforts our local MPPs have proudly told us they have achieved.

Instead, we have seen absolutely no action. Questioning our two MPPs on hydrogen is to find that they both are happy to follow Dalton McGuinty’s silent treatment. Both men were willing to stand with Dalton McGuinty when the promise was made. Neither politician is willing however to tell anyone why no action has been taken.

If one ever questions why people rank politicians below used car salesmen, Dalton McGuinty’s behaviour in this case is likely a prime example.

Behind the scenes, the latest International Hydrail Conference was offered to Thunder Bay. However not one of our political leaders had the vision, or desire to follow up on the potential. It is almost as if, behind closed doors, the Liberals have said ‘That wasn’t a real promise, it was a political promise. We don’t have to honour those promises’.

The conference ended up in Turkey, where the United Nations supported the conference, and the Turkish Government has taken action toward moving past fossil fuels. For Thunder Bay, and Ontario, perhaps it could be said that Turkey is taking the lead that “turkeys” in Ontario failed to grasp.

The broken hydrogen promise isn’t the only promise that Dalton McGuinty has broken.

However it is a strong continuation of a string of broken promises that have seen Ontario slide from being one of Canada’s economic powerhouses to a “have not” province in Canada.

Now you might think it is being negative to be so critical of our Premier.

The truth is it was Dalton McGuinty who made the promise, and it is up to Dalton McGuinty, if he wishes to be treated with respect to honour his promises.

Otherwise what message are we allowing this Premier to share with our young people?

If it is promise whatever you want, and not keep it, then Ontario’s future is in far more serious trouble.

Now, lets look a little forward.  For the north, the latest promise from Dalton McGuinty is that the “Ring of Fire” will now be the North’s new economic path forward.

This promise offers enormous economic potential, but for the North the reality is that it is simply the latest potential boom in a long period of being a primary resource extraction region. With Ontario’s very expensive power rates, the chances of a company deciding to process the minerals in our province are very slim.

It is in the secondary and tertiary manufacturing where the jobs lie and the skills development for future growth are going to be. But under this Premier, and his government and with their high power rates, Ontario will not see the full benefits of the vast mineral resources.

The other reality, and one that Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry Michael Gravelle has had the integrity to state is that the “Ring of Fire” is years away from really making the massive impact on our region that McGuinty has promised.

His boss is likely to be long retired, as will Minister Gravelle before the full project is in play.

For Northwestern Ontario, moving our region forward is going to take leadership with integrity. Right now, we have two very loyal Liberal MPPs who seem willing to follow their boss no matter what.

For those who believe that political promises should be honoured, the McGuinty Government is a government that has a long track record of broken promises. As the long, and likely very expensive run to the October 2011 provincial election continues, we should all be demanding honesty first and foremost from our leaders.

Without demanding that, all we are going to get is more broken promises and more lost opportunities. We should all be asking ourselves, can our children; our grandchildren, province and we afford to lose any more opportunities.

If we allow politicians to make and break promises we are just as guilty as they are.

That of course is just my opinion, as always, your mileage may vary.

James Murray

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