Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cynical Politics - Ontario Style

It is likely a truism to observe that the value burning brightest in the hearts of most political parties is the passion to get and retain power. Concern for the public good is at best but a very distant secondary concern.

We are reminded of this fact by the reaction of Ontario's political opposition to Kathleen Wynne's winning of the leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party, thus rendering her the next premier of the province. In his column today, The Star's Martin Regg Cohn offers the following trenchant observations:

With graceless timing, Tory Leader Tim Hudak disgorged an attack ad on the first business day after Wynne’s weekend triumph.

Next, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath laid a crass political trap of her own by demanding a costly full judicial inquiry into cancelled gas plants (which the NDP also wanted cancelled) instead of letting MPPs and the auditor general do the accounting job they’re paid to do. To be clear, Horwath’s first “ask” was to demand Wynne arrange her own hanging.

His column goes on to point out the patent hypocrisy in the attacks, hypocrisy that includes Hudak's complaint over losing four months of time in the legislation owing to the crass McGuinty prorogation after announcing he was stepping down. Despite being in apparent high dudgeon over this waste, he refused to support an NDP plan to tighten the rules of prorogation.

In Cohn's withering assessment, Andrea Horwath appears to be morally in tune with young Tim:

Horwath, who first demanded that prorogation be constrained, made no mention of that — or any other constructive idea — in her Monday news conference (or 10-minute private phone call that followed with the incoming premier). Instead, Horwath invited Wynne to sign her own death warrant by — improbably — setting up a commission to provide opposition ammunition in time for the next election.

Cohn goes on to point out that the auditor general will be releasing his report in March on government waste, so such a probe would also seem to be redundant.

The columnist deduces that instead of trying to co-operate for at least a few weeks to pursue the public good, as they were elected to do, both leaders and their parties [p]erhaps ... have concluded co-operation is too risky, lest it undercut their bedrock support.

Therein lies yet another instance of the abject failure of politics in our country.

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