I was filled with a general sense of hopelessness as the Drummond Report was presented on Wednesday afternoon. Implementing much of what the trusted economist recommended will take political will, and there isn’t any at Queen’s Park.
A public Sector wage freeze won’t happen. The ship sailed on that when McGuinty promised it before, and then selectively gave a wage hike anyway. Besides one of the larger public sector Unions O.P.S.E.U (Ontario Public Service Employees Union) is soon going to be in a legal strike position, and you can probably guess what they’ll be wanting…
McGuinty wants to be known as an education Premier so the likelihood of him delaying the implementation of or cancelling the full-day Kindergarten program is fairly slim. The same can be said of the cancellation of the tuition grants for post-secondary education. He’s known as being friendly towards teachers too, so denying any employer rate increases to the Teacher’s Pension Plan is probably out of the question as well.
McGuinty also wants to be known for his Green Energy policies. Cancelling the Green Energy Benefit probably isn’t going to happen because giving people money is popular and might get votes. It also goes against his image as an environmentally friendly premier.
Nobody has the guts to talk about making seniors pay more for drugs. They’re always seen as tone of the more vulnerable groups in society, which, for the most part makes sense. Besides that, Seniors vote; any attempt to make them pay more for something will be punished at the ballot box.
Gamboling makes money for the government. It probably makes enough money to make it a real revenue generator for the McGuinty Liberals, meaning guess what? Closing a casino in Niagara Falls isn’t going to happen. Closing its headquarters maybe… but even that won’t make much of a difference because employees will likely make their way into other jobs within the provincial government.
Could Tim Hudak do better if he were elected Premier last October? I honestly don’t know. If he did win, he’d certainly be in a better position to implement the Drummond Report recommendations, because all policies affected are Liberal. It would have been natural for Hudak to stake out some different political territory and use the report as a means to do it.
McGuinty is in a no-win situation- he carries on as is and we’re in a worse state in five years. He does something and he could alienate key demographics he needs to win an election. He probably ordered the Drummond Report in the first place to make it look like he was doing something. He never thought he would actually win last October. Now he’s stuck trying to implement recommendations that call for him to go against many of his cornerstone policies and become unpopular. And we all know how much this Premier hates to be unpopular.