The campaign’s been running all summer, and yesterday it finally officially kicked off. Who will win? How will they tackle the key issues? Both questions will be answered over the next month.
Right now I’m predicting a minority government.The Liberals on the surface are running a surprisingly strong campaign. Scratch below the surface though, and I find myself following the money; how are they going to afford it all? They’re promising tuition credits for students in middle-class families, tax credits for companies hiring foreign workers, and to build or expand new hospitals as well as building 3 new campuses in the G.T.A. alone. All with a deficit sitting somewhere in the $15-20 billion range. Their positive is McGuinty himself. By mocking himself as one of the most unpopular people in the country, he’s taking the sting out of it. He’s coming across as natural in some of their commercials; gone is the almost wooden behavior he displays in the media.
While the Liberals are running a strong campaign, the P.C.’s are running a weaker one. That kind of surprises me because their platform does have substance, and the McGuinty government doesn’t have the best record to run on. The P.C.’s message is too negative now- all summer I’ve been hearing about McGuinty the taxman. We all know that; we’ve lived through it, and still paying for it Now tell us how you plan to reverse that; a cut to the H.S.T. across the board would probably do more good for more people than the targeted elimination on some products and services. Hudak wants to eliminate the Local Health Integrated networks (L.H.I.N.), and invest the money saved form it into front-line health care. How much would that save exactly? Where specifically would invest it- would it be in building more, and expanding hospitals? Hudak has been labelled “Mike Harris Light” by the Liberals and has done nothing to get out in front,and neutralize it.
The N.D.P. is a wild card. Andrea Horwath is a clear communicator; she made no bones about wanting the job. It’s quite likely she may be a king-maker in the case of a minority. She’s clear about the party’s beliefs, and where they stand on the issues. Such clarity could see her come up the middle between Hudak and McGuinty; while they’re sniping each and either win the election or become leader of the opposition. I believe people are still looking for a change and so far she seems to capture it.
It’s early in the campaign, and I don’t think the latest poll showing McGuinty in the lead nearing majority territory doesn’t matter much. There’s a lot of a campaign to be run- mistakes to be made, and points to be won. Let the games begin.