What Message will Thunder Bay Share with Premier McGuinty?

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THUNDER BAY – Premier Dalton McGuinty is headed to Thunder Bay later this week. The Premier will address the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.

Right now, across Ontario it is looking like the Liberals will be in for the fight of their political lives in an effort to win a third majority government.

The Premier has led the Liberals to two successive majority governments, and for the past seven years has been one of the most teflon coated politicians in Canada. Problems in Ontario have not stuck to the Premier.

Over the past year however, the polling numbers have shown the once teflon “Premier Dad” as increasingly out of touch with Ontarians.

Part of the problem has been over the past several years, perhaps Premier McGuinty has lost focus on governing and started setting his vision on his political legacy. McGuinty appears to want to be known as Ontario, and Canada’s greenest politican. McGuinty is out-greening the Greenest of the Green Party in that effort.

There is an impact on Northwestern Ontario. The Liberals punched through the “Far North Act” over the objections of almost every organized group in Northwestern Ontario. The legislation was heavily supported by environmentalists.

Come Thursday however, it is likely that the audience will applaud Premier McGuinty like he were the best friend our region has ever seen.

It is likely the wrong strategy.

Now I am not suggesting for a second that anyone heat up tar and grab Gramma’s old goose feather mattress. Despite where one sits on the political spectrum, the Office of the Premier is one that deserves respect.

However if the audience were to offer mild applause, that would send a message to Queen’s Park that people are not happy.

In a region where energy prices are still a factor, and our region can produce affordable hydro, there should be zone pricing for electricity in our region.

That would solve some of the issues with forestry, mining, and would make it more attractive for business to locate in our region.

The Premier, who the polls suggest will be in for the political fight of his life may consider both Thunder Bay seats as secure Liberal holds. However if residents are offered solid choices, and the opposition parties look like they will form a government, that bet would not be money in the bank.

The coming months will see if that message is either sent, or received by the Premier. It is very possible it will be a huge question in the next provincial election.

James Murray

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