This election in Ontario, the Toronto Star has been promoting Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne as the “progressive” choice. They even went so far as to claim NDP leader Andrea Horwath is a “right-wing populist.”
Of course, if one does a little fact checking, it becomes clear that Andrea’s platform is actually to the left of Wynne’s.
Andrea’s left-wing populism turns out to be very progressive: her NDP offers the most for the poor, disabled and low-income workers.
Lurching left in principle
But what about Wynne’s sudden “lurch left”? Is it for real? It’s not exactly like she has any progressive policies under her belt (put into legislation.)
Liberal leaders like Jean Chretien lurched left in the past during election campaigns, only to lurch right after getting elected — ditching promises like national daycare for deep spending cuts, cuts to EI benefits and corporate tax cuts for the rich.
The two Kathleens
According to Cohn, there are two Kathleen Wynnes: the one campaigning now, and the one who will emerge after the votes are counted.
In a contorted column where Cohn praises Wynne for righting Liberal wrongs by lurching leftwards in spirit, he concedes, “Wynne’s numbers likely won’t hold up after the ballots are counted.”
Instead of Wynne delivering on a progressive government, he says the people can expect “pain.”
Although Cohn says Andrea has the same hidden agenda — who he absurdly considers Stephen Harper’s “best friend and fellow traveller” — he clearly has no right to speak for her.
But how about letting Andrea’s policies speak for her?
Andrea has a record of tax fairness.
In 2012, she demanded that McGuinty contain income tax hikes for the rich in his budget, when working with his minority government.
At present, Andrea supports Wynne’s $600M/yr income tax hike on the top 2% in the Liberal 2014 budget — which expands on Andrea’s orginal tax hike. It’s part of Andrea’s A Plan That Makes Sense election platform.
Andrea is also the only leader promising to reverse Liberal corporate tax cuts which we are borrowing $2.4-billion every year to pay for. And this is while Canada has the lowest corporate tax rate of ALL major economies.
In Andrea’s platform, she takes a cautious approach and will reverse corporate tax cuts by $760M/yr.
So if balancing the budget turns out harder than current platforms suggest — both the Liberals and NDP promise a balanced budget by 2017-18 — which party will put more pain on the people and which party will reverse more tax cuts for the rich?
Cohn says Wynne will break out the pain right after pouring the Champaign on election night.
Excuse to champion tax fairness
Andrea, however, as Cohn suggests, is a populist. She is people-oriented. She has no reason to campaign left and govern right.
If anything, it will enable her to further embrace tax fairness — which, like Andrea, is populism at its finest.