Premier Dalton McGuinty has shut down Ontario's Legislature.
Credits: REUTERS FILES
Forgive me for being the fresh-off-the-boat immigrant, but from where I come — Pakistan — when a legislature is shut down indefinitely and elected representatives of the people are barred from doing their job, we have a simple phrase to describe the act: A coup d’etat.
Here in Ontario, when a premier runs for cover to save his bacon and shuts down parliament, I’m told they call it “proroguing” (a word they didn’t teach me in ESL classes).
Again, back in the Third World, if hundreds of millions of citizen dollars would be used by politicians to win elections in hotly contested ridings, we would without hesitation call the act political “corruption.” Here I am told the exercise to spend your money to cheat you of your rights is given such James Bond-type code name like “Project Vapour.” 25 years after landing in Canada, I am still on a learning curve trying to sift through the stench and silt of politically correct sulphur.
I am referring to the resignation of Dalton McGuinty as the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party and Premier of Ontario in the face of a mounting spending scandals. There was the possibility that had he not shut down Queen’s Park, he could have been cited for “contempt” by the opposition for his alleged involvement in shutting down power plants in Mississauga and Oakville during the last election.
In an interview recorded before McGuinty resigned, Rob Leone, Conservative MPP made it very clear on TVO that his existing contempt motion against Energy Minister Chris Bentley would be followed by a similar motion against McGuinty after the legislature’s finance committee would submit a report on Nov 19.
Little did he know, the “coup” was already underway, thus ensuring the finance committee would never be able to submit its report on what Leone calls a “massive cover up” to hide a “Liberal seat-saver program.” What followed the “proroguing” of the legislature was equally distasteful. One Neil Zacharjewicz from the Ontario Liberal machinery inside Queen’s Park sent out a confidential memo to other liberal MPPs with a warning:
“As always, Key Messages are for Members’ (Liberal MPPs) background only... not to be distributed to media, stakeholders or constituents.” The message listed talking points to help MPPs when they faced their constituents asking questions why the Liberals had shut down the Legislature for an indefinite period.
The talking points made no mention of “Project Vapour.” Instead, the e-mail urged Liberal MPPs to blame the opposition Conservatives and the NDP for bringing on the shutting down of the legislature.
From the secret talking points memo:
• Ontario families expect their government to do what it takes to grow the economy, create jobs and protect the services they rely on.
• But the opposition’s political games are holding Ontario back — making the legislature so hyper-partisan that very little is getting done.
• So, we need to go back to the drawing board.
Going back to the drawing board? Enough spin doctoring Mr. McGuinty. You have sullied the Liberal brand and dragged it through the sands of sleaze. None of the Liberals who served on your cabinet or caucus deserve to be the next leader of the party.
Perhaps ordinary members of the Liberal Party like myself should request Sandra Pupatello to come back from retirement from Windsor to lead the party back to its roots even it that means being in opposition. The question is, will the backroom spin doctors permit her?