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Ontario Election Scheduled for June 12

Minority Liberal government is dissolved after Premier Kathleen Wynne asks the Lieutenant-Governor to call an immediate election.

Kathleen Wynne announcing the June 12 election.

Premier Kathleen Wynne met with Lieutenant-Governor David Onley this afternoon and asked him to call a provincial election. The minority Liberals had little choice—yesterday the Progressive Conservatives confirmed that they’d be voting against the draft 2014 budget, and this morning NDP Leader Andrea Horwath did the same. (Since the budget counts as a confidence vote, allowing the budget debate to proceed would have triggered an election in a few days anyway.)

The full transcript of Wynne’s remarks:

I have just met with the Lieutenant-Governor, and he has accepted my recommendation to dissolve the 40th Legislative Assembly of Ontario. The official documents will be presented to His Honour later this afternoon, at which time the House will be officially dissolved.

On June 12, the people of the province will have a choice: they’ll have a choice between the balanced approach of a Liberal government that will create jobs and nurture our economic recovery, and the opposition party that would put recovery in jeopardy recklessly, with irresponsible choices. They’ll have a choice, in fact, between safe hands and recent tactics.

I want the people of Ontario to know exactly what a Liberal government means. I’m working to create opportunity for all. I’m working to create jobs, I’m working to create growth, and I have the strongest team. As a province we’ve gone through some tough times together—there is absolutely no doubt about that. The global recession hit us hard. But our recovery is taking hold: it’s taking hold steadily, and it’s taking hold persistently. Companies are hiring again, confidence has begun to rise, we’re finding our footing, we’re on our way back.

But we cannot put that at risk. We need to move forward with a steady, balanced approach—we can’t veer off to the left or the right. We can’t risk that. My government has a clear plan to help create more good, well-paying jobs in Ontario and to help young people find that all-important first job. We have a clear plan to invest in infrastructure and in transit so that our province becomes an even better place to live and work and raise a family.

We have a clear plan to invest in our people with skills and development training, to help them find work and then to keep them in that work and help them get ahead in that work. We have a clear plan to help Ontarians save for retirement, so that the reward for a lifetime of working hard is a secure retirement, not a struggle for survival.

I’ve been premier for only a bit more than a year now—I’m still new a new face to many Ontarians, I know that. And I want them to know this about me: I believe that there is only one good reason to enter politics, and that is to help people. And you do that by making government a force for good in people’s lives, a positive force, a progressive force—helping to create jobs, helping our kids to get the best education, putting in place the conditions to help people and businesses to thrive.

We talk a lot about the economy but for me it goes well beyond the numbers on a page, it goes beyond statistics and forecasts. It goes to the very heart of who we are. It’s about the well-being of people in Ontario: our families, our friends, and our neighbours.

Here’s the reality: the decisions that are made by the next government of Ontario will make a huge difference in people’s lives. Those decisions will change Ontario, and that change can be for the better or it can be for the worse. Those decisions that change will matter to the people of Ontario. They will matter to every individual and to their families.

If Ontario’s future is entrusted to an NDP government, that will make a difference in people’s lives. We’ll be burdened with reckless financial decisions and a hostile attitude towards business at a time when Ontario needs growth in jobs and partnerships with business. The NDP doesn’t have a coherent plan to do that. They make pie-in-the-sky promises but they won’t say how they’ll pay for them. So now is not the time for pipe dreams.

If we declare war on labour, as Tim Hudak would have us do and the Conservatives would choose to do, that, too, will make a difference in people’s lives. It will roll back the clock, and it will hurt Ontario families. Their cuts would devastate crucial public services—the health and education that take us so far in terms of our strong democracy. Their cuts would take us along a path to a low-wage, low-growth economy. That is not where we need to go in Ontario. So now is not the time for that kind of slashing that Tim Hudak is putting forward.

I want to add one other important note. On a number of important issues, the interests of the people of Ontario are at odds with the policies of Stephen Harper’s government. Ontario workers want improved pensions for a more secure retirement. Stephen Harper will not act. Ontario contributes $11 billion more than it gets back from Ottawa, an important fiscal gap that needs to be addressed. Stephen Harper will not act on that. Ontario wants to develop its resources in the north. The federal government pours billions of dollars into the oil sands, but when it comes to the Ring of Fire, Stephen Harper has not acted. On these and other issues we need a premier who is willing to stand up to Stephen Harper, and then to stand against him if that’s what’s needed to promote and advance Ontario’s interests. That’s what I have done, and that’s what I pledge to do going forward. Tim Hudak shares Stephen Harper’s values, his ideals, and his approach. With so much in common I really believe that we have to question how that approach will get results for the people of Ontario.

So the opposition parties have very different priorities than we do. They hold different values. As Liberals we have a clear vision, a sense of purpose, and a comprehensive plan. We will balance the budget by growing the economy, and we’re already doing that. We’ll ensure that people in all parts of the province share in the economic growth of the recovery; we’re already doing that. We’ll keep Ontario on track towards a success that we can sustain, and we’re already doing that.

Over the past year, I have visited every corner of this province. I have met with CEOs; I’ve met with small business owners; I’ve heard the stories of families, and I’ve heard the stories of students, and their hopes. We believe in a province with a great history—we are a province with a great history—of accomplishment. What inspires me is what we can do going forward.

In the coming weeks I look forward to meeting with many, many Ontarians. Across Ontario there is much to be optimistic about, but we have to be vigilant. We have to safeguard the advances that we’ve made and not put those at risk. We cannot take anything for granted. Liberals are committed to helping the people of Ontario move forward. I am committed to leading that, and I look very much forward to interacting with the people of Ontario between now and June 12.


Budget 2014: Liberal Government Fails Toronto on Transit


  • ReppinTheShwa

    Whatever happens, as annoying as the constant manufactured political crises are, people need to vote. If people don’t vote the PCs will win.

    • mlr81

      Sure, vote: every good narcissist knows that there’s no defense against change and impotence like a little frantic activity, excessive action, and get-involved-ism.

      Medieval Catholics lined up for their wafer and indulgences; voters line up to mark a little ‘x’. Everyone walks away with an unearned sense of having done something somewhere vaguely near the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – but not TOO high (we don’t wanna get crazy, here! I’m mean, really, you don’t expect us to venture into self-actualizing territory, do you? The gall! The brass!)

      • OgtheDim

        I suppose that is a slightly more nuanced version of “Don’t vote, it will just encourage them.”

        More often then we’d think, the voters surprise the chattering/moping classes by doing something unexpected that actually does change things.

        The Charlottetown accord referendum
        Bob Rae
        Dan Heaps
        Jack Layton

        Its always worth voting.

        • mlr81

          “Encourage THEM?” No, Sunflower: your list could be matched by an equal list of “surprises” voters delivered that would turn your head and stomach (Bush (twice!), Egypt, Germany 1933, whoever-the-hell-has-been-running(?)-Detroit-(into-the-ground), that guy that came AFTER Bob Rae, that guy that came AFTER Miller – Lord, you had a lame list!), but that whole list would be a distraction. A patsy.

          No, Sweet Pea, the real pathology (the nuance your mind won’t let you entertain easily – but you can’t suck on a Red Pill like a Jolly Rancher; you have to swallow it, Sugar Plum) is this: there’s a tonne of power and wealth to exploit when it comes to selling people a system that strokes and warms their ego.

          How could voters attack a system that gives them sliver of power at regular intervals, however harmful the results, and however little real good they can effect in its exercise? How could students criticize the university system despite its inflated As (indeed, now-inflated BAs) and uncertain job prospects? How could anyone criticize Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ ads as a con when they us feel so gosh darn warm and fuzzy?

          Remember, in this (and every) election: it’s not red vs. blue. It’s purple vs. you.

          You lose.

          • dsmithhfx

            You’re on some kind of crusade.

          • mlr81

            I know exactly the outcome of my actions here: cognitive dissonance from you. It tastes delicious on popcorn, by the way.

            You, and other democrats like you, drunk on 3rd grade civics pablum, keep pulling the lever, again and again and again, expecting a different result. The Einsteinian definition of insanity.

            *eats popcorn* *nom nom nom*

          • dsmithhfx

            Knock yourself out.

          • TheSotSays

            I think you hit the popcorn bit right on. Kathloon McWhinnie could be Orville’s twin sister


          • mlr81

            Oh, what do we have here? A ‘conservative’ come to play? A riddle for the rightist, then: what, exactly, have you and your team managed to ‘conserve’ ‘lo these many years that there have been Conservatives?

            Because from where I’m sitting with my popcorn, you look like the kind of harmless opposition that Brezhnev’s USSR would have paid money for – anything to give the left an enemy to get the blood flowing through those hardening, graying Soviet veins. (Well, they’d have paid рубль… not sure that’s the same as money …)

            Utterly loud, utterly toothless, utterly effective every time the ratchet needs another twist to the left.

          • TheSotSays

            “What have you and your team managed to ‘conserve’?” asks the old 9 squared troller.

            The answer of course is “nothing” and the reason is this. In April 1968 the Liberals elected as PM a Freddy the Sturgeon look-alike. Freddy was a communist and it didn’t sit well with all the old Liberal hacks when they woke up to the fact. So the Liberal hacks all fled to the Conservative Party leaving only Harvard scum balls and Bolsheviks to lean on the bar at Liberal headquarters.

            You’re wrong about payment in рубль. It’s Liberal Party payment in Красный экскрементов only, as it’s been continuously since 1968.

            Nevertheless, the Liberals with their flake political theories and candidates that look like failed plant breeding projects, are as washed up as the tax plundering NDP.

          • mlr81

            “The answer of course is “nothing”…”

            Glad we could clear that up.

            (And I prefer the term “Reactionary Genie,” if you don’t mind)

          • TheSotSays

            “Glad we could clear that up” ??????

            To most observers it’s obvious that nothing is clear to you, no matter what NDP/Liberal Party trolling name you happen to be using at the moment.

          • mlr81

            The left paying money for someone to post critiques of voting (aka, the Holy Sacraments) while quoting Carlyle, Filmer, Evola and Fight Club … Look, I know thrift isn’t really their bag, but seriously … the world must look like a strange and outlandish place through your eyes!

            Occam’s Razor would suggest the more likely explanation is that I’m a reactionary pixie who comes out to play (albeit with people’s heads) around election season, because it’s when I get the most bang for my buck. You think I can eat popcorn dripping with the cognitive dissonance of my interlocutors and keep THIS figure?

          • TheSotSays

            “the world must look like a strange and outlandish place through your eyes!”

            Warren Kinsella dressed up like a pixie would look strange through almost anyone’s eyes, whether he’s quoting Elmer Fudd or he isn’t.

          • OpportKnocks

            The Sot’s team’s inability to correctly identify their enemies or potential allies is another symptom of their general cognitive dissonance.

            “If you are not with us you are against us is not a winning strategy”

            Here is one of approximately the same vintage as Genie:

          • mlr81

            How apt! OK, no more 300 year+ quotes, but one from my favourite blogger, this morning:

            “This is the true critique of the system, not simply that one group reliably oppresses another; but that the entire system is based on creating a lack. This lack is not a bottomless hole that nothing could ever fill, but a tiny, strangely shaped divot in your soul into which nothing could ever fit: not money, not sex, not stuff, not relationships. Nothing “takes.” Nothing counts. Nothing is ever right. Only novelty works, until it wears off.

            This lack of power– not power to rule the world, but existential power– what is the purpose of my life? What is this all for? I get that I’m supposed to use my Visa a lot, but is that it? Shouldn’t I be able to do more than this? Everything is possible, but nothing is attainable. Nothing tells them what is valuable; worse, everything assures them that nothing could be more valuable. That the media is the primary way the system teaches you how to want should [be] obvious to [us], [...], but for that same reason it [is] invisible…”


          • OpportKnocks

            As you have probably noticed, the Sot’s role here is to elevate the level public discourse.

          • TheSotSays

            “Public discourse” ?????????

            I think not. The only member of the “public” here is me. This is basically an amusement centre for NDP/Liberal Party wonks who receive government salary cheques for sitting around, day after day, looking out the window.

          • mlr81

            Complaints about the system not treating you fairly and privileging others? But when you admitted that your “side” hadn’t managed to achieve anything – anything at all! – in all these decades of trying, weren’t you acknowledging who is, in fact, in charge? And you’re expressing resentment towards those in power reaping the benefits of … power?

            You sound like the perfect candidate for an NDP membership. Rage against that machine!

            … or figure out how the machine is built…

          • TheSotSays

            “or figure out how the machine is built”

            Sorry chief but I’m too busy trying to figure out whether there’s enough taxpayer healthcare money around to pay for both your psychiatric care and your June 29 wedding.

            I’m going to laugh if I see you out there getting married “for free” to Orville Redenbacher.

  • OpportKnocks

    Re: The “People need to vote.” mantra, a few points:

    1. An uninformed vote is more damaging than no vote at all, if you are going to vote get the facts.

    2. In a free society, how you vote 24/7 with your time and money counts for more in the long run than your ballot once every few years. Boycott products and services that are against your values, volunteer for and donate to causes that align with your values.

    3. Arrange your life so that whoever is in political power will have minimal impact on your quality of life.

    One caveat though:
    “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” – Plato

    • mlr81

      Ahh, “get the facts,” s/he says. Riddle me this: how was a hypothetical voter (in either 2008 or ’12) to find the “facts” that would have allowed them to cast an “informed vote” for Obama in light of said prez’s hard-on for NSA spying, drone strikes on who-knows-whom-or-where, and economic policies that I doubt even “economists” understand?

      I like #2. More of this, please. Problem is, when you have an official Church Indulgence (i.e. “I VOTE” bumper sticker) officially telling you that you are a good and righteous person, why go to all the effort (eww!) of self-actualization?

      #3? Tell that to the erstwhile denizens of Detroit, or my many friends from Venezuela, who saw their whole country become as increasingly unlivable as it became increasingly democratic.

      • OpportKnocks

        In terms of the Obama critique, everyone is aware that Americans vote on domestic policy and pay little attention to foreign policy, except where it impacts domestic quality of life. Educated people outside of the US also know Obama is out of his depth in both foreign policy and economic policy and is just mouthing the talking points from the PNAC gangs in State/Defense/CIA/Treasury, etc.

        As for Detroit, anyone left after 1995 was either; not paying attention, a drug dealer/user, a government worker, or just too lazy to move.

        Educated Venezuelans must know that democracy and quality of life will always be a challenge in countries that do not vote for a US State Dept sanctioned candidate or party. My brother is a VP of development in the USA, the central Miami core is undergoing a real estate revival. Two big projects are being financed with Venezuelan money, so some there are paying attention.

        Your other posts suggest that the enlightened/benevolent dictator is the governance model of choice. No question that when the stars are aligned the results can be great, other times…

        • mlr81

          Very thoughtful riposte… this is fun!

          I think Sir Robert Filmer had democracy pegged 300+ years ago, when he wrote in Patriarcha (1680), so if I may be allowed to defer to him, and his somewhat alien-sounding English:

          “There is nothing more uncertain than the People; their Opinions are as variable and sudden as Tempests; there is neither Truth nor Judgment in them; they are not led by Wisdom to judg of any thing, but by Violence and Rashness; nor put they any Difference between things True and False. After the manner of Cattel, they follow the Herd that goes before; they have a Custom always to favour the Worst and Weakest; they are most prone to Suspitions, and use to Condemn men for Guilty upon any false Suggestion; they are apt to believe all News, especially if it be sorrowful; and like Fame, they make it more in the Believing; when there is no Author, they fear those Evils which themselves have seigned; they are most desirous of New Stirrs and Changes, and are Enemies to Quiet and Rest; Whatsoever is Giddy or Head-strong, they account Man-like and Couragious; but whatsoever is Modest or Provident, seems sluggish; each Man hath a Care of his Particular, and thinks basely of the Common Good; they look upon Approaching Mischiefs as they do upon Thunder, only every Man wisheth it may not touch his own Person; it is the Nature of them, they must Serve basely, or Domineer proudly; for they know no Mean. Thus do they paint to the Life this Beast with many Heads. Let me give you the Cypher of their Form of Government; As it is begot by Sedition, so it is nourished by Arms: It can never stand without Wars, either with an Enemy abroad, or with Friends at Home. The only Means to preserve it, is, to have some powerful Enemies near, who may serve instead of a King to Govern it, that so, though they have not a King amongst them, yet they may have as good as a King Over them: For the common Danger of an Enemy keeps them in better Unity, than the Laws they make themselves.”

          (alright, I’ll edit in a tl;dr: democracy hurts ordinary people, immiserates them in its own insidious way, and replaces a King with Fear)

          • OpportKnocks

            The owner of the company where I work is also on the Board of a non-profit that promotes democracy to youth in schools, online, etc., so that makes for some interesting debates outside of office hours. Obviously it falls to me to adequately represent the contra-view.

            Here are some POVs from the current century ;-)
            Russell Brand, why I don’t vote.

            Noam Chomsky: America is a terrified country.

          • mlr81

            I really appreciate you linking to the video – I’d heard it mentioned in reactionary circles, but I knuckled down and listened this time. He peppers this interviews with real gems – I was delighted! Thank you.

            He gets hung up on two points where he parts ways with my view. First, he takes the bait laid by Paxman when asked “But whatRwegonnadoooo~?” The proper response is, “The powerful will rule – they do now. There’s nothing I can do to stop that, but my participation incentivizes the worst sort of policy and the most sclerotic kind of mismanagement; rather, self-denial in voting is an act of zen NOBILITY. I could vote, but knowing it will only do more bad, I’ll exercise self-control and do nothing.” Rather, he starts hopping up and down about a revolution. Thanks, but the guillotine has done enough these past few centuries. Can the madness stop, please?

            Second place where he loses me is in being preoccupied with economic disparity. I agree that a key problem is that governments are beholden to corporations where it should be that corporations serve the interests of the community. Where he (and Chomsky) part ways with me is that a person (not an individual – a person) can’t be measured by wealth, or anything that involves … well, protractors. The things that really mark a person’s worth are beyond the economic: they involve things that are spiritual, that are rooted in family and community and moral excellence. To quote Baron Julius Evola (hey, I’m moving up to the last century – bear with me!):

            “I will not deny that there are in human beings some aspects under which they are approximately equal, and yet these aspects, in every normal and traditional view, represent not the “plus” but the “minus”; in other words, they correspond to the lowest degree of reality, and to that which is least interesting in every being. Again, these aspects fall into an order that is not yet that of “form,” or of personality, in the proper sense. To value these aspects and to emphasize them as those that truly matter is the same as regarding as paramount the bronze found in many statues, rather than seeing each one as the expression of distinct ideas, to which bronze (in our case, the generic human quality) has supplied the working matter.”

            Which, taken to its logical conclusion, if we zip ahead in time to, say “Fight Club,” (!), means that, as Brand puts it, if we had “a massive redistribution of wealth,” we’d all just, pace Fight Club’s Durden, “…[chase] cars and clothes … [and] buy shit we don’t need…” Thanks, but you can keep your Wal-Mart materialism, I’m aiming a bit higher, here, and so should Brand and Chomsky. An individual may fit nicely on a spreadsheet and enable telescopic philanthropy like Dickens’ Mrs. Jellyby, but a person is a whole, and as a person who is more than the stuff he owns, earns or buys, I’d like “progressive” to kindly keep their protractors offa my body, kthanx.

          • OpportKnocks

            Back to something closer to the original topic, making democracy relevant and effective again in Ontario.

            The problem is the two predominant voting divisions in Ontario have little common ground. Inside the centres of the big cities it is difficult not to recognize that we are all in this together, and to a very large degree we sink or swim as a group. There is more acceptance of the role of government to maintain the lifeboats. In more rural Ontario it is a lot easier to maintain the illusion of the self-made man and have an attitude that: “I’ve got mine and the government should not hand it to others.” If you need help, I will decide to help you, either because I like you or you are my neighbour.

            So the secret to political power in Ontario is in the 905 type communities who will switch between the two POVs.

            The solution is reform of governance in Canada in the following key ways:

            1. Revert to the ancient Greek City-State democratic model, where urban regions (and rural districts) are the primary units of government and not the Federal and Provincial governments.

            2. Invert the taxation pyramid so that most of money (including gas, liquor, sales tax) is collected and spent at the city-state or region level.

            3. The federal and provincial governments would receive payments from the local governments (trickle up) to undertake programs and of provincial importance, on a per-capita formula.

            Think of it, Toronto’s ability to fund transit would be solved in an instant. The chronic waste at the provincial and federal level would be reduced. Real power and democracy would exist at the local level where it is most important, the best political and administrative talent would also stay at that level.

          • mlr81

            I like the model of a city-state – really, I do. I like it because even though I’d allow that Canada and the US are as well run as things this big and complex could reasonably be expected to run, they’re too big. Bigger than what is reasonable.

            So, great, I agree with your proposal for an independent Toronto – instead of urban polities being creatures of the province, make provincial backwaters creatures of the cities. Fine so far.

            But you and I still part ways when it comes making decisions based on democratic mechanisms. Look, Iraq is a democracy, where the politicians elected have actual power; they use that power to build walls and carry out sectarian violence. Athens was no better; Filmer notes how the mob there was swayed by demagoguery to kill or exile the best of Athenian society, the ones that gave most and served best were treated worst (Phocion and Xenophon were especially tragic examples).

            Thomas Carlyle’s 1850 “Latter Day Pamphlets” is the nail in the coffin: “Your ship cannot double Cape Horn by its excellent plans of voting. The ship may vote this and that, above decks and below, in the most harmonious exquisitely constitutional manner: the ship, to get round Cape Horn, will find a set of conditions already voted for, and fixed with adamantine rigor, by the ancient Elemental Powers, who are entirely careless how you vote.”

            As a compromise, I’d entertain two elements that sustained Venice for 1,100 years. Rule by Serene Doge in Toronto, in two easy steps you can do in your kitchen:

            1) An element of the random in elections. The Doge was elected for life, but the process was … inventive. La Wik: “Thirty members of the Great Council, chosen by lot, were reduced by lot to nine; the nine chose forty and the forty were reduced by lot to twelve, who chose twenty-five. The twenty-five were reduced by lot to nine and the nine elected forty-five. Then the forty-five were once more reduced by lot to eleven, and the eleven finally chose the forty-one who actually elected the doge.” All this election-lottery back-and-forth happened so fast, there was no time to bribe or influence. You had to actually vote for candidates you truly felt would be the BEST leader. In 1,000 years, one family tried to game the system, and the result was … a pretty good Doge. Scandal!

            2) Accountability. When the Doge died, the books were opened up. Any misuse of funds or any decisions that damaged the State would be recovered – from the Doge’s children/estate. Unless we get to sue Ford and Family on his exit from office, you can keep your stinkin’ ballot, I ain’t interested.

            But I’m not obstinate: get “Declare Toronto and/or Ontario an independent Serene Republic” on the ballot and you’ll have my voting-booth virginity!

          • OpportKnocks

            The Goge of Venice is an interesting example in light of their recent referendum in favour of independence from Italy. Perhaps the Doge will be readopted as a governance model.

            However, under the Doge model neither you nor I would be entitled to vote. So your virginity is safe.

          • mlr81

            Oh, I’d pop my cherry for what we reactionaries call a “True Election,” one that installs a truly responsible and functioning system. An election to end all elections.

            And then, yes, I wouldn’t mind if any future involvement in leader selection was as random and removed from ordinary people as jury duty is now.

  • dsmithhfx

    A couple of theories: 1) Horwath got played by the Liberals, or 2) Horwath got played by her own brain trust, who are betting she’ll fall on her face, then on her sword.

  • audrey

    I will pd in to something myself u r not touching my money for u can gamble it away like u did with the gas plant u need to step aside now and let someone fix your mistakes and get us bk on track Ontario people deserve bet u want to keep spending money that’s not there then tax the he– out of us not this time come on Ontario we got to get her out