Politicial Leaders in Ontario were all sent messages from Voters

Dalton McGuinty

Dalton McGuintyTHUNDER BAY – Editorial – Political leaders in Ontario were sent messages from the people who voted in the by-election in Kitchener-Waterloo on Thursday.

For Premier Dalton McGuinty, the message was that the teflon is wearing off. For years in Ontario, the Premier has seemed untouchable by problems. Over the past year, first in losing the majority government, and now in being denied a majority, it increasingly looks like the best days for Dalton McGuinty as a political leader are now behind him.

“You know, winning a byelection in government is never an easy thing at the best of times, and these are not the easiest of times,” commented the Premier on the results. McGuinty had made repeated trips into the riding with a strong goal of winning the seat. The Liberals finished third.

For NDP leader Andrea Horwath, the message is that people are increasingly warming up to her. For many Canadians the NDP are increasingly looking like an alternative. Likely it is a combination of factors including the popularity of the federal NDP that is helping the Ontario NDP leader, but the signs are positive.

Likely the anger that teachers and public sector workers are feeling toward the McGuinty Liberals are going to remain a factor. That bodes well for the New Democrats.

For Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak, the message is to start leading.

Sometimes it seems that coming out of an event, Hudak seems happy to have ‘got through that’ or his aides feeling, ‘that went alright’. That approach leaves the PC leader standing on safe ground, but not demonstrating the bold leadership that Ontario needs.

Speaking out after the results were public, Hudak stated, “Tonight’s result has shown that public sector unions from across Ontario were provided with the perfect opportunity to concentrate their resources and lash out against the wage freeze we’ve been consistently pushing. They bought Kitchener-Waterloo and now we can expect the rest of Ontario taxpayers to pay for it as the NDP cut more budget deals to keep the Liberals in power”.

Playing the ‘blame card’ might be safe political ground, but the ‘responsibility card’ likely could have made a difference.

A hidden message most will likely miss in the election results from Kitchener Waterloo is that Katherine Fife is also a strong advocate for Aboriginal rights.

She was one of the founders of Shannen’s Dream, and has strong roots in education. In a province where moving forward is going to take bringing everyone along to better education is going to be important, Fife will be a stronger voice right away.

The results have left Dalton McGuinty without a majority, and likey have the political landscape in Ontario left with some uncertainty. Likely results might be a spring election, as the political waters have shown little to gain for the Premier or the Official Opposition leader.

James Murray

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