Partisan Liberals believe they are entitled to their entitlements. They think the purpose of the NDP is to prop up their minority governments no matter how corrupt they become or how many promises they break.
Clearly this position is absurd. If the Liberals need support to govern, it’s their responsibility to earn it, just like any other party.
There are many similarities between the Martin and Wynne governments, besides some Liberals trying to blame the NDP for their failures.
Chretien/Martin broken promises
The Chretien/Martin Liberals campaigned from the left and governed from the right. They won most of the NDP vote, but governed like Progressive Conservatives.
Their Red Book was full of goodies for the people. But when they came to power, they didn’t feel obligated to keep their promises.
Among their broken promises over their 13 year reign: get rid of the GST, renegotiate NAFTA, implement national daycare and decriminalize marijuana.
Wynne’s broken promises
Kathleen Wynne is also offering a Red Book-like platform with lots of big-government promises: mass transit plan, Ontario pension plan, money for hospitals and schools.
But she broke three promises (which were NDP ideas) that she actually legislated in her 2013 budget: home care for seniors, reducing auto insurance rates by 15% and a financial accountability office.
Promises are pretty to think about. But not much use if they’re never delivered on.
The Paul Martin government was also plagued with scandal: the Ad Scam fiasco. This was a mismanagement of $250-million of public funding due to a lack of transparency and accountability.
It allowed a few low-level Liberal bureaucrats to embezzle a few million dollars of taxpayer money. Although Martin was not involved, he took the fall for it.
The McGuinty/Wynne gas plant scandal was a much greater offence. McGuinty abused $1.1-billion of taxpayer money closing down unpopular gas power plants as a campaign strategy — a naked attempt to buy a majority government.
Unlike Martin, Wynne was actually involved in her predecessor’s corruption. She was the Liberal party’s campaign co-chair and her signature was on documents related to the gas plant closures.
The Ontario Liberals are taking the same position the Harper Conservatives took when their government fell in 2011: that the opposition is “forcing an unnecessary election.”
But the reality is that both governments deserved to fall because of inexcusable corruption and broken promises.
This election should be about party policy and track records, not passing the buck. The only ones the Liberals have to blame for their governments failing is themselves.