Ontario has a new premier, and the hyperpartisans are out in full force (it was a full moon, after all). Less than 24 hours after Kathleen Wynne won the Liberal leadership and became the province’s next premier, Twitter exploded with rants and taunts calling on the PCs and NDP to force an election immediately.
One such Twitter user, a self-described independent journalist, betrayed her ignorance of how things work when she suggested that the (considerable) amount of money that would have to be spent on an election wouldn't matter much to the Liberals in light of the billions they had already spent/wasted. She obviously didn't realize that the money was the taxpayers’ money, and not the Liberals’.
Even John Tory, former leader of the PCs, wrote on Twitter that Wynne should be allowed sufficient time to prove herself first before throwing the cold water of an election over the entire province – “It’s the RIGHT thing to do,” he wrote.
No matter what Wynne’s predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, did, it is simply ridiculous to assume that she would automatically continue on as a McGuinty clone or robot. Parties are parties, but they change depending on the people leading them.
The Conservative Party would be drastically different if someone other than Stephen Harper were its leader. The PCs in Alberta are definitely not the party it once was. Since the arrival of Alison Redford, it’s not even been a conservative party anymore, but either liberal or social-democratic.
That Wynne leans to the left is well-known, but she might still surprise Ontarians. For all anyone knows, she could turn out to be a fiscal hawk and actually clean up the mess left behind by McGuinty. The point is that we won’t know until we've tried, or given her enough time to at least try.
Besides, even if she turns to the left, we may not necessarily have to become worried and book the moving van to leave the province in a hurry: there have been left-wing governments both in Canada and abroad that managed to balance the books. At the same time, our very own Conservative government in Ottawa took a surplus and turned into a major deficit – not because of “emergency spending” in the wake of the global recession, but because public spending in Harper’s first term had gone up by at least 14 to 16 per cent – a feat only to be admired by drunken-sailor, tax-and-spend Liberals (to stick with a time-honoured cliché).
Elections are costly affairs, and given today’s constellation in Ontario, there’s no guarantee that the winner of a spring election would win a majority. That is to say, the likeliest outcome is a minority government that would teeter on the brink of being censured, thus saddling Ontario’s taxpayers with the costs of yet another election in short order.
Surely, this cannot be the will of voters already disgruntled by profligate spending.
A much better approach, therefore, is to let Wynne govern for a while. If, say, by fall, she has failed to address the most pressing issues facing Ontario and/or it’s become blatantly clear that she is, indeed, nothing but a McGuinty clone, then, and only then, should the opposition parties gang up on her and the Liberals and bring the government down.
PC supporters, in particular, should be grateful for any extra time. As the last two elections demonstrated, the PCs found themselves in the middle of an election campaign, but weren't prepared for it. They should also consider this: the last election wasn't won by McGuinty; it was lost by the PCs.
PC leader Tim Hudak is still somewhat green behind the ears. He’s not short on ideas, but he needs more time to think things through more thoroughly before subjecting himself to a Canadian Idol-type competition.