Thursday, January 31st Commentary
For the last few days I've been making a point of advising we hold off on painting incoming Premier Kathleen Wynne with the same brush as Dalton McGuinty- a Liberal is a Liberal is a Liberal.
Now however there is evidence on two fronts that Wynne will have to wear some of the baggage Dalton left behind.
First it's the teachers dispute, the refusal to do anything but teach.
When Mike Harris was Premier, the PC's changed the Education Act to prohibit teachers from withdrawing from co-instructional activities such as sports, arts and cultural programs. That was in 2000.
9-years later, the McGuinty Government removed that section of Act.
The Elementary Teachers Federation insists that this change enabled teachers to withdraw from extra-curriculars. The minister of Education at the time was Kathleen Wynne.
The other area where some of the political manure will stick on Wynne is the decision during the last election campaign to cancel the planned natural gas-fired power plants from Mississauga and Oakville and move them to Kingston and Sarnia at a cost that is well into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Energy Minister Chris Bentley has taken the political fallout from this along with the Premier, but this decision was made purely for partisan political purposes by the Ontario Liberal Party and the election team. Greg Sorbara is the face of the Liberal election campaign but as the PC's pointed out yesterday the co-director of the Liberals last election campaign was non other than Kathleen Wynne. So it would appear her hands are dirty on this one.
See I told you we'd find plenty of things to criticize her for.
The gong show at Toronto city hall seems to be going from bad to worse.
On their show, The City here on NewsTalk 1010 Sunday, Rob and Doug Ford were all over Karen Stintz the chair of the TTC because of the decision to extend the leases of the subway station newsstands without putting the job out to tender. The Mayor suggested he was blindsided on this but Stintz insists the mayor's staff has been completely in the loop for the last three months.
During the show, another company owner told the Mayor and his brother his bid would be better $4.5-million better just on the newstands, let alone the cafes and other shops in the stations.
Karen Stintz is now looking for a third party to examine this other offer which Mayor Ford has concluded means she's admitted her mistake.
Stintz says she stands by the current deal, but if there's new information that comes to light from the third-party review, she'd welcome it.
This issue is political opportunity for Ford to undermine one of the people who just might run against him in the next election, and while I'd like to give him credit for being so politically astute, I can't. I just can't because the Mayor again just seems to be clued out.
Karen Stintz can't escape this either the TTC screwed up on this. They should have asked for bids, period. It should be law or at the very least the policy of every body which uses public funds.