Opinion

Premier owes people opportunity to judge

Peter Epp, QMI Agency

Ontario Premier Wynne brings in food for a warming Centre at the Agincourt Community Centre in Toronto, Ont. on Wednesday December 25, 2013. (Dave Thomas/QMI Agency)

Ontario Premier Wynne brings in food for a warming Centre at the Agincourt Community Centre in Toronto, Ont. on Wednesday December 25, 2013. (Dave Thomas/QMI Agency)

It’s very possible — and very necessary— that Premier Kathleen Wynne will call for a provincial election within the next several months.

 

Former Premier Dalton McGuinty served 18 months in office after his Liberal government was reduced to minority status in the October 2011 election.

Wynne assumed the Liberal mantle and by default the premier’s office 10 months ago, but the people of Ontario have never been asked to validate her public leadership through a general election.

 That’s not unusual. She’s not the first premier to be elected by party insiders rather than by the people of Ontario.

And some have held onto the reigns of power— their role as premier untested at the ballot box — for far longer than Wynne.

But she owes herself and the people of Ontario the opportunity to be judged at judging should be in 2014.

And there are signs pointing to an election.

The Liberals have announced a modest price reduction for Drive Clean, and have proposed a revenue stream to help fund transit challenges in the GTA.

They’ve also proposed an ambitious scheme to create an Ontario pension plan that would supposedly replace the federal plan for Ontario residents.

Given the fact the bulk of the Liberal vote resides within the GTA, public transit could be a key talking point for Wynne and her colleagues.

The pension proposal gives her and her Liberals the chance to bash the federal Conservatives while taking some of the heat off their own government’s financial challenges.

Yet unless Wynne herself seeks an election, it likely won’t happen.

The New Democrats hold the balance of power at Queen’s Park, and despite being scathingly critical of the Liberals, Andrea Horwath has been reluctant to align her party with the Progressive Conservatives in defeating the Wynne government.

Horwath had that opportunity last May when the provincial parliament was asked to approve the 2013 Ontario budget.

But whatever scruples the New Democrats had over the Liberal budget were efficiently smoothed over with the promise of an additional $1 billion in spending on various programs.

It’s doubtful that the odd love-hate relationship that exists between the Liberals and NDP will end this year.

So it’s up to Wynne — and Wynne alone — to call for an election.

— Peter Epp

 


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