If the term "history repeats itself" hasn't rung true so many times before, I would have to say that Dalton McGuinty has a chance convincing Ontarians that this time he means to keep his word. But, unfortunately for our embattled Premier, the term holds fast throughout the world and throughout time.
Mr. McGuinty does have quite the battle on his hands, this we know for certain. Although his government has implemented many good things and have steered Ontario through what could have become a total economic disaster, he still has personally lied to each and every Ontarian he "represents". Now, here is the time-honoured irony: politicians lie. They have to.
Granted, almost all politicians have to lie in order to get things to work in their favour. If a politician had to walk around all day telling the truth, two things would happen. Firstly, his government would never get anything done to save their lives; and second, he would very likely be voted out of office (or never be voted in, in the first place) for not "convincing the people he's worth their vote."
The problem that Mr. McGuinty faces, arguably first and foremost, is that he is not in a position to be voted back into office for a third term as Premier of Ontario. His government is in the truly unique Ontarian position of trying their best not to be voted OUT of power. This conundrum is something that seemingly happens more often than not in Canadian politics, especially at the provincial (with the most emphasis on Ontario) level.
One could say that its because of the diversity of population and political views in this province; that the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives each get a turn vying for power (with the odd inclusion of the NDP...yes I am talking to you Mr. Rae). Whatever reason it is, it seems that since the mid-1980s, Ontario has had this constant swing of power from the left to the right and back again that has had the effect of stalemating Queen's Park over the long term. It is yet to be seen whether Ontario will once again vote to keep a party in power for more than two terms at a stretch.
Despite the position McGuinty and his Liberals are in (and the ranting I've heard from political opponents [and friends!] of mine), that of being able to break into the third term and to continue to foster their political views with the immense economic and social power this province has, I have to vehemently disagree with him/them.
I have to admit that there are some things the McGuinty government has done that have impressed me, like the adoption of renewable power sources regardless of the cost, for example. But the scandals that have rocked his government are something I cannot ignore. And this opinion is not formed just out of my partisan alignment, but out of genuine concern for the direction of the province. There is no reason why Tim Hudak and the Progressive Conservatives cannot continue the implementation of renewable power sources, although I am simply not sure if it is something that will be on their agenda in the coming years if they win on October 6. That, I would have to say is the only aspect of the Liberal platform that I will dearly miss if the PCs win and abandon it altogether.
We, as the people of Ontario, have to start thinking longer-term. It is fine to switch up the political landscape every eight years or so, but if we don't have a set of values that supersedes partisanship, then we will continue to be a province that flops around like a fish in shallow water.
Let's hope Tim Hudak and the PCs win on October 6th, and further let's hope that they steer the government away from scandal and corruption and into the greener pastures of yesteryear.
Dalton McGuinty cannot escape the history he has made. Tim Hudak has yet to make any.
Vote Progressive Conservative, and give him a chance to do just that.