Looking ahead to 2013 here are 5 stories I’ll be watching for in no particular order.
1. Dalton McGuinty: His administration has damaged the Liberal brand with its scandals, and general feeling it’s been around too long. Ornge, OLG, eHealth, and the power plants all have destroyed the Liberal brand making them nearly unelectable. Added to that a relationship with Teachers, and organized labour that has been pretty much destroyed by bill 115, and it’s a recipe for a disaster. His replacement is to be chosen in late January, but will they be able to mend fences and banish the spectre of scandal? My prediction is we’ll be looking at a brand new elected Premier by no later than June.
2. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford: He’s the Mayor of Canada’s largest city. And he just got thrown out by a judge for what was an incredibly stupid move by using his own letterhead to raise money for his football team. His appeal of the ruling as I write this is pending. Will he win? I think so, mostly because in the bigger picture 3 thousand dollars is small in the grander scheme, and because no judge really wants to mess with the democratic process. He was chosen by the people, the people should get to decide his fate. Will his victory/ loss in court change how he behaves? Likely not, because the beauty of Ford is that he’s WYSIWYG (What you see, is what you get)
3. Idle No More: The relationship with First Nations has been mishandled in some fashion by arguably every government since Confederation. It’s reached a tipping point with Attawapiskat Chief Teressa Spence’s hunger strike. The Prime Minister is in a unique position to start something new, but in order to do that he has to stop apologizing for past mistakes and prepare to move forward. The problem is moving forward could involve taking steps that verge on being characterized as revolutionary. Does he have the political will to do that?
4. Milton’s Growth: The town’s been Canada’s fastest growing municipality, and on the list of fastest-growing municipalities in North America. The creation of infrastructure, and its upkeep has been an endless challenge for Town Council. The continued fight for both the Milton Education Village, and the Milton Hospital expansion, as well as the impending groundbreaking at the PAn-Am Velodrome site means Town Council will have its hands full.
5. Horse Racing, Casinos and Mohawk: Earlier this year McGuinty made the decision to get rid of the horse-racing subsidy; a recommendation of the Drummond Report. This would cripple the industry, and close down a lot of racetracks including the one out at Mohawk. This has been coupled by the mention of a Casino the possible sites for which include Toronto, Hamilton, and yes even our own Mohawk raceway. Mohawk would be an obvious choice; there are plans for a hotel and I think a golf course on the same site. This could end up being another hot potato for Milton Town Council to take on.