“We’ve been through tough times before. This is one more.”
At his leadership review yesterday, that was Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's rather understated response to his recent string of political misfires, misfires that include his costly efforts to win seats in the last election by shutting down two gas-fired power plants at great expense to the taxpayer, his failed attempt to bribe his way to a majority government in the Kitchener-Waterloo byelection, and his hamfisted and unnecessary strategy for reducing the provincial deficit by stripping teachers of their collective bargaining rights, despite the fact that teachers had offered a two-year wage freeze.
Apparently, Canada's answer to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker remains upbeat about future prospects, even though the teacher bill and the proposed broader public-sector wage freeze could prove very costly through court challenges to their constitutionality.
Indeed, it would seem that McGuinty's groundless optimism is infectious. As reported by Martin Regg Cohn,
Happily for the premier, a solid majority of party delegates (85.8 per cent) backed him in a mandatory leadership review — even as public opinion polls show he has the approval of less than a third of all Ontarians.
Perhaps the Premier's political instincts are failing him; at the leadership review, he seemed to think that a few platitudes about teachers would undo the political fallout of his folly as he reflected on “working with the best teachers anywhere — Ontario teachers.”
With his party now sitting at 20% in the polls, I suspect he is going to have to do a lot more than that to mend some seriously-damaged fences.