Why I Don't Think There Will be an Ontario Election
How short our memories are. Don't we remember there would have been at least 11 more federal elections in the past few years if every time the sabres were rattled by the opposition we had actually gone to the polls.
We forget, this is part of the give and take of minority government politics. Having lived through this in prior years I almost think it is a necessary part of the "show business" of politics in minority mode--its some bizarre version of a mating dance.
So Dalton McGuinty is headed off to see the Lieutenant Governor after a defeat in committee. They will have a meeting and exchange the usual pleasantries, but no election will be called. Why?
First, because it would be a complete waste of time and $150 million of your money. Why?
Because the result would be almost exactly the same as last time. Why?
Because the Liberals have done little to enhance their standing in rural Ontario--in fact they have obviously decided to largely throw those seats to the wolves with post election measures like the horse racing fiasco and a continuing push on green energy.
Because the PC's have done nothing to enhance their image in urban Ontario--in fact they may not have actually decided to do so, but may have ended up making things worse for themselves with their continued outdated chatter about gay/straight alliances and the like.
Because the NDP, while buoyed by good polling numbers would soon come to realize they are artificially boosted by the " who's worst, who's next and who's left" syndrome which often benefits the NDP BETWEEN (not in) elections, and by Andrea Horwath's deserved personal popularity. But the people of Ontario deliberately or accidentally elect another NDP government in perilous economic times in 2012? Forget it.
So, they will sort this out. And the party with the most motivation to sort it out should be the NDP. They should give themselves a shake and realize that in an election, they would end up as part of the body count --squeezed out in a battle between PC's and Liberals over who is in fact worse, and positioned as the only party which would have to support the status quo for public sector unions, a position which would ultimately be deadly (see Wisconsin recall results). I honestly believe the stakes are high enough for the NDP that whatever polls say, they run the risk of ending up without official party status if they force an election, regardless of who wins.
As for the other two, they also have big risks in an election. Dalton has seen ORNG, power plants and assorted new mismanagement skeletons emerge SINCE the election and these will hurt. Tim's popularity ratings see him trailing the PC party by a wide margin with the whiff of archaic party intolerance still hanging in the air from "foreign workers" and "gay straight alliances"at a time when the PC's should be sweeping the province on the spending mismanagement file alone.
And then there are party finances. The PC's are worse off than advertised, and owe the most, and neither the Libs nor the NDP are flush. And election campaigns cost serious money.
So, there will be no election in my fearless prediction. Some small additional tweak will happen to miraculously get the NDP back on side.
And then, do we think there is any possibility they might all decide to actually GOVERN for say, six months, without posturing or threatening elections. Maybe if they all actually got together (there's a novel concept) and found some things they could AGREE on with respect to say economic development and health care reform. Don't we think they could find say three things they could actually agree on? Okay, maybe two.