This post is especially for those of us who live in Ontari-ari-o!
The Politics of Cynicism has been strongly spread around the hiways and biways of our fair Province. Billions of dollars have been promised to a broad range of interests in the hopes that pork barreling will buy a few precious votes – especially in battleground ridings around the 905 and 519 area codes.
But do these promised handouts make up for how the Harper government has treated Canad’s most populous province over the past couple of years? Without getting into Harper’s approach to Eastern Canada before he became the Grand Poobah of the ReformCons (build any firewalls lately Stevie?), here are a few examples of how the Harperites have dissed my fair province.
Jim Flaherty – Finance Minister:
…However, he had some tough words for his home province of Ontario, where a Harris-Decima poll released Friday suggested the public supports McGuinty’s view that Ottawa is giving short shrift to troubled manufacturers.
The poll found that 56 per cent of those surveyed supported the premier’s view that Flaherty is too focused on the oil-and-gas industry.
Asked about the poll, Flaherty responded that the Liberal premier “doesn’t get … that you must reduce your business taxes over time.”
“Their business taxes are the highest in Canada. If Mr. McGuinty thinks that’s good for the manufacturing sector in Ontario, he’s wrong.”
Flaherty said the policies are doing “long-term” damage to the province’s economy.
“It discourages investment in the province of Ontario,” he said. “If you’re going to make a new business investment in Canada, and you’re concerned about taxes, the last place you will go is the province of Ontario.”
A political gravy train or a shrewd plan for better passenger rail? Based on an internal report by the Ontario government, it would seem that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s pitch in last week’s federal budget for a passenger rail service between Toronto and Peterborough is a bad idea.
Mr. Flaherty’s supporters – notably Peterborough Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro – point to Trent University, Quaker Oats and General Electric as some of the major employers in Peterborough that would benefit from the scheme. But Mr. Flaherty’s fans are careful to avoid dwelling on the fact that the train service would run through his Tory riding – and also that of his wife, Christine Elliott, who is a Tory member of the Ontario legislature.
So what about Harper himself? The Premier of Ontario and Harper aren’t exactly fishing buddies and every time Mr. McGuinty announces any sort of initiative (e.g., the agreement between Ontario and Quebec on greenhouse gas emissions), Harper and his posse are right there – tearing it apart… partisanship to the max!
John “pitbull” Baird on this progressive agreement:
Federal Environment Minister John Baird said the talks between Charest and McGuinty are more about “political posturing” than cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
“I saw a great press conference,” Baird told the CBC’s Don Newman on Monday in Ottawa. “What the premiers are talking about is much in the line of what we’re doing, but it’s just talk.”
Take for another example the legitimate complaint by the Premier that Ontario continues to be a contributing province to our equalization system despite the fact that we are now – by definition- a “have-not” province.
And now the ReformCons come hat in hand, asking for a majority. And I’m worried that, due to strong support in rural areas of the province (like my old stompin’ ground, sniff, sniff) combined with a Grit/Dipper/Green split of the left vote in swing ridings will indeed deliver Ontario.
And with Ontario coloured blue, so goes the nation.