Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, centre left, speaks during a meeting with The Intelligencer's editorial board in Belleville, Ont. Friday, April 13, 2012.
Credits: LUKE HENDRY/THE INTELLIGENCER/QMI AGENCY
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TORONTO - If success has many fathers and failure is an orphan, the collapse of Premier Dalton McGuinty's minority government would be one ugly baby no one is willing to claim as their own.
All three parties in the legislature have been working overtime to ensure - no matter how unlikely it may be - a sudden election doesn't have their DNA.
"The premier has an obligation to make the minority government work," New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath said Friday.
"We've done all we can. If it doesn't continue, it's because Mr. McGuinty refuses to work with the other parties."
But with 17 seats and the balance of power, Horwath has a unique chance to influence the Liberal government policy and has grabbed it with a proposal to tax income over $500,000 with a two-percentage point surcharge.
Horwath's approach, including a willingness to drop demands for an 8%-tax cut on home heating bills, won her two concessions Friday from McGuinty. The premier announced he would find extra cash for daycares and disability benefits in an effort to get NDP support.
The Progressive Conservatives have dismissed Horwath's "horse-trading" approach and vowed to vote against the budget in January - two months before it was even introduced.
In sharp contrast to Horwath's refusal to "draw lines in the sand," the Tories have demanded McGuinty impose a mandatory wage freeze on public sector workers and foster private sector job creation.
Despite that, PC Leader Tim Hudak said an election would be entirely McGuinty's fault.
"Dalton McGuinty is obsessed with an election," Hudak said last week.
"This is a dramatic failure of Premier McGuinty's leadership, that he can't find two votes across the floor.
"It's on his back, not mine."
Liberals meanwhile have gone out of their way to praise Horwath's flexibility - even while prodding her over her silence on public sector pay, a sore point with her party's left wing - while dumping on the PCs for not playing ball.
Recent polls about a potential election have been mixed and there are obvious downsides to being stuck with the tag of forcing a $100-milion election seven months after the last one.
Parties are strapped for cash too, but money has been flowing in from donors on all three sides since February.
"It's not ideal but we can do it," one PC organizer said of an election.
The NDP are also ready to roll if needed.
"We have the same campaign team in place," an NDP source said. "We know how to run a campaign on a shoestring - better than the Liberals or the Tories could.