Dalton McGuinty announces he is stepping down as Premier of Ontario.
Credits: Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency
A month ago, Premier Dalton McGuinty said it was vital to freeze public sector wages for two years to protect key government services and eliminate Ontario’s massive deficit.
Given that, how does he plan to accomplish this with the Legislature not sitting and incapable of passing the government’s proposed wage restraint legislation?
For McGuinty to suggest that, with the Legislature out of commission to accommodate the Liberal leadership race to replace him, it’s still possible for the government to negotiate wage freezes with its public sector unions, is absurd.
If McGuinty thought that was realistic, he wouldn’t have unveiled draft legislation in late September to impose wage freezes on public sector workers in the inevitable event they won’t agree to them at the bargaining table.
Liberal hints the Legislature could be recalled briefly just to pass the wage restraint bill are equally absurd.
McGuinty doesn’t even have a willing political partner to get his proposed law passed in the current minority Legislature.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says the wage restraint bill goes too far, while Tory Leader Tim Hudak says it doesn’t go far enough.
Indeed, with the threat of this bill now off the table, there’s no reason for the public sector unions to negotiate with the government. After all, maybe the next Liberal leader will come from the party’s left wing and will simply declare a wage freeze is no longer a priority for the Liberals.
Alternatively, whenever the next election is called, possibly this spring, the unions may simply shift their allegiance, campaign workers and political war chests to Horwath, in a bid to make her premier, in return for her promise not to impose a wage freeze.
Clearly, this was something McGuinty either didn’t think about, or didn’t care about, when he abruptly adjourned the Legislature so the Liberals could choose his successor free from the daily pounding they were taking from the opposition over numerous scandals.
The most recent was McGuinty’s decision to waste hundreds of millions of dollars cancelling two unpopular gas plants in order to save a couple of Liberal seats in the last election.
These days, McGuinty reminds us of the captain of the Titanic. If only he wasn’t taking down taxpayers, and Ontario’s finances, with him.