McGuinty will stay on until a successor is found.
Worse still, there is talk he may run for the federal Liberal leadership meaning even people outside of this province will not be safe from him.
Much has been made of McGuinty’s record with some fawning tributes and others offering the kind of begrudging praise departing politicians often seem to get regardless of their accomplishments.
As someone that covered McGuinty as an opposition MPP, as my own local MPP and as premier, let me say I’m not impressed.
True, McGuinty is a skilled politician. I’m never sure anyone really means that as a compliment though. The man is charming – I once remember Bill Carroll, then a talk radio host in Toronto, excited at the idea of taking on Premier McGuinty in a one-on-one in studio interview. Bill thought he’d be tough on him. Watch it I warned, the man is a charmer, and he is disarming.
I was right, Bill was shocked at how likeable McGuinty could make himself to most people that met him.
He’s one of the few politicians I have made speechless when I called him out at a news conference, exposed his lie about how a hospital would be funded. He looked down at his shoes, paused and said next question. He didn’t have much of an answer because he was lying to the people.
And at the end of the day that is McGuinty’s biggest failing.
He promised not to raise taxes and then whacked Ontarians with the biggest tax hike in provincial history. He also tried to say it wasn’t a tax, a judge hearing an appeal of the health premium would later rule otherwise.
He and his government have done this over and over again. For a while there my test of whether the McGuinty government would actually do something was whether Dalton initially said he wouldn’t do it.
Flip and flop. That was Dalton.
Sure all politicians do this, but McGuinty made an art of it. He had a style closer to American governors than past premiers – that might be due to the training he took from Obama mentor and campaign big shot David Axelrod.
McGuinty also came with a bare knuckles team that took no prisoners and accepted nothing less than loyalty. Stephen Harper has this reputation but trust me, he has nothing on the McGuinty clan.
In my view Premier Dad left when he did because he was finally caught. The opposition parties were onto a scandal he couldn’t get out of – the moving of power plants at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars to the taxpayer, just to save some Liberal seats.
If McGuinty had stayed on, he would have suffered the same humiliation as Jean Charest who went down in scandal in Quebec. Better to leave like Chretien and let the next guy deal with the mess.
McGuinty isn’t gone yet but the checks and balances on him set out in our Westminster system of Parliamentary democracy are all gone.
McGuinty has shut down the legislature until his party finds a new leader but he also said he wants a freer hand to negotiate labour deals.
“I met with the lieutenant-governor earlier today and asked that we prorogue the house so that we can pursue both discussions, both tracks, in a way that is free of the heightened rancour that has sadly, too frequently, characterized our legislature of late.”
Let me unpack this for you, Mr. McGuinty. Those political games you talk about are the outcome of a minority Parliament. You don’t have a majority, you need their support, but rather than seek consensus you are taking your ball and going home.
You want a free hand to sign big contracts without having to be questioned on it. What you are engaging in is taxation without representation. You want to commit taxpayer money without our representatives having a say in the people’s place, in our Parliament.
I think you should leave sooner before you damage democracy even more.
And that’s the Byline.