Premier Ernie Eves is reportedly about to send another request for bail-out cash to Ottawa. As most columnists have already reported, Eves doesn't really expect Ottawa to pay. Rather, this is an attempt by the provincial PCs to link the provincial Liberals with the federal Liberals.
The PC story-line: the Liberals in Ottawa don't care about Ontario, and McGuinty won't fight his party's federal counterpart, so we need Eves to fight the Liberals in Ottawa.
The reality: every time Eves tries to 'take-on Ottawa', he gets stomped like a narc at a biker rally. And it is hardly surprising: as a strategy, Liberals reward Liberals alone. Anyone who has heard of Jean Chretien's comments concerning who will be appointed to the judiciary (only good Liberals) knows this. Anyone who remembers the incident with Tom Wappel's 81-year old constituent (i.e., no help from me because you didn't vote for me) knows this. Anyone who witnessed Chretien's absence during the electricity crisis and his relatively involved response to the BC fires, knows this. Most importantly of all, Ernie knows this.
The likelihood: all Ernie will do is give the Liberals another chance to prove that Ernie lacks what it takes to bring home the goods; that if Ontario want's federal money, it needs a Liberal government in its court. The blame-Ottawa strategy will fail to distract Ontario from the real and perennial issues during the coming provincial election: health care, education, electricity (and perhaps auto insurance).
It's not simply an electoral strategy matter either, according to Freedom Party of Ontario leader Paul McKeever: "As Professor Andrew Petter [University of Victoria Dean of Law, former BC NDP cabinet minister] has pointed out, the whole 'blame the other government for your own failings' strategy undermines accountability and Canadian democracy."
In his Canadian Bar Association article "Federalism and the Myth of the Federal Spending Powers", Petter wrote:
"Eves is doing Ontario a real disservice here", says Freedom Party of Ontario leader, Paul McKeever. "The Federal and Provincial governments are not in a parent and child relationship: they are, instead, parts of a two-piece puzzle. Every time Eves begs the federal government for money he reinforces the false perception that the feds run the show. The reality is quite the opposite. Mike Harris knows that. Ralph Klein knows that. Preston Manning knows that. I, most certainly, know that."
The Freedom Party of Ontario is the only registered political party in Ontario that respects, and would require Ottawa to respect, the constitutional division of taxing and spending powers. Its election platform, The Right Direction, can be found at:
https://freedomparty.on.ca/platform.pdf (Adobe .pdf format)
https://freedomparty.on.ca/platform/html/cover.htm (HTML format)
Paul McKeever (who will be running in the riding of Oshawa, against Sid Ryan and Jerry Ouellette) is available to discuss this matter. You can contact him directly at:
Freedom Party is expected to run candidates in approximately half of Ontario's ridings in the coming election.
further information: Paul McKeever, Leader, Freedom Party of Ontario.