Saturday, June 14, 2014

Partisan hypocrisy shows why voting reform is doomed

When Harper won a fake majority on 39.6% of the vote, many Liberals claimed it was an outrage and affront to democracy. Now that Wynne won one on 38.7%, they say she earned a mandate from the people.

Partisan corruption

Major party partisans will always be opposed to voting reform — including the NDP in provinces where they are a major party — because they care more about winning than what’s best for the people.

They will gladly sit on the sidelines while a neo-con party destroys the place, just as long as they get their turn at absolute corrupt power.

Federal Liberal about about face

Take for example the federal Liberal party which fell to minor party status in 2011. Traditionally supporters of First-Past-the-Post, they embraced ranked ballot voting reform wile licking their wounds.

But as soon as they rose to first place in the polls, they predictably ditched their commitment.

The death march of democracy

Now if Trudeau wins in 2015, he will destroy electoral reform for good in Canada with another designed-to-fail PR referendum that killed voting reform in BC, Ontario & PEI.

With an impossible 60% win threshold and a ballot that excludes ranked ballot supporters, the Second Coming has better odds of success.

This farce will drive the final nail in the electoral-reform coffin making corrupt First-Past-the-Post the democratic choice of Canadians.


Democracy in Canada is an insane asylum.

We award absolute corrupt power to minority parties, excluding the actual majority from government. We are stuck wih some other country’s monarch as our head of state. We have an appointed senate filled with partisan hacks that has equal power to the democratic house. We have a corrupt fourth estate owned by corporations that abandons journalistic objectivity to meddle and campaign in general elections.

Getting involed with our slipshod implement of democracy is the equivalent of going to a Christian Fundie holy-roller church service. Either you check your brains at the door or are rendered incredulous by the spectacle.

Liberals didn’t fool progressive or centrist voters

This election in Ontario, the Liberal party’s campaign strategy was to out-left the NDP and win the majority they missed by one seat in 2011. They did this with a bullshit progressive budget and outrageous attacks against NDP leader Andrea Horwath claiming she was a right-wing Rob Ford clone.

Ironically, it was a 4 point drop from the Tim Hudak PCs that allowed Kathleen Wynne to win a fake majority on 38.7% of the vote.

Progressives not fooled

None of the right-wing crap the Liberals threw at Andrea Horwath actually stuck. Which just goes to show the more desperate the rhetoric the less likely the public is going to be deceived by it, regardless of the volume.

Andrea’s NDP made a 1 point gain from the 2011 election. That’s 42% higher than previous NDP leader Howard Hampton was able to take things — and double the seats.

So Liberals didn’t fool progressive or centrist voters — despite the Toronto Star pumping out daily op-eds of ethically-bankrupt propaganda.

It would seem the tabloid journalism of Sun News and The Star only ends up preaching to the choir.

NDP on right track

Despite our absurd voting system that awards absolute power to a minority party on less than 40% of the vote, Andrea is clearly on the right track.

Jack Layton forged the new NDP which unites left-leaning and centrist voters to stop the neo-liberal agenda being perpetrated by the Con and Liberal parties over the past 2 to 3 decades.

Despite complaints from the odd left-wing ideologue and Liberals pretending to be progressives, this path is clearly the right way forward.

Where Andrea went wrong

Jack Latyon ran the perfect campaign. His campaign ads showed, in a light-hearted way, that the Liberals were just another version of the Conservative party. But he also offered a positive vision for Canadians.

This election Andrea focused too much on Liberal corruption and mismanagement, and not enough on her own vision for Ontarians.

Pocketbook populism

Jack Layton’s pocket-book populism is the key to the NDP forming the government and ending 30 years of Tough Tory Times.

It gives everyone a break, but the lowest-income group gets the biggest relative benefit. Contrast this to Conservative and Liberal tax cuts (which they either implement or cement in place.) They give the rich the biggest benefit while the little people are gouged to pay for them.

So the best way to reach out to the 99% of voters is to push affordability and tax fairness and make sure the message gets out loud and clear.

Even right-leaning voters can go for this, which helps split the right-vote keeping the neo-con party from power. (The neo-cons being the Liberals in a hurry to destroy the Just Society centrist liberals and social democrats built up in the post-WW2 era.)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Everything you wanted to know about politics, but didn't care enough to ask

Here are a few political observations I have made over the years:

Politics and sports

Politics and sports are colossal wastes of time. But people seem to enjoy the latter.

Politics and sports are similar: everything’s about your team winning.

If your team wins you either pretend good is being done, or wait until your team is back in the playoffs and assume good was being done.

If your team does wrong, it’s no big deal. If the other team does wrong, it’s an inexcusable outrage.

In politics you would rather believe black is white than believe your team is wrong for having chose black.

When your team loses you know what you have lost. When your team wins you’re never sure what you’ve won.


If you are one of the sheep, self interest is evil. If you are one of the shepherds, self interest is a privilege.

Anything good for the people is a bad idea. Anything bad for the people is “for the greater good.”

When pain is meted out to the people “for the good of society,” money is meted out — for the good of the wealthy.


When democracy is a horse race the only ones represented are those who own the horses.

In Canada an arbitrary minority party is awarded all the power. The actual majority of voters ends up opposing the government.

National politics is like high school politics — depressingly primitive but without the faint hope of sex.

People who are lazy and apathetic about politics are dumb. Prominent campaign issues are even dumber.

The more people gather together, the lower their collective IQ. During an election campaign, it falls to the level of dumb beast.

An election campaign consists of different teams trying to coax a dumb beast to their side of the pen. The beast doesn’t understand the issues. The coaxers are too intent on coaxing to care about the issues.

The platform of the winning team often becomes a forgotten footnote of the previous election.


The role of the progressive is to sit on the sidelines complaining about regressives destroying the country.

Politicians are narcissists. Political junkies get stuck with the least satisfying form of addiction.

Journalists would make good mobsters. There is nothing they can’t rationalize.

Politicians discard their values and principles for a stab at power. Journalists discard theirs for a paycheck.


Free market ideology is like a disease. It’s also touted as the cure.

Economics is dismal, but it doesn’t remotely resemble a science.

Economics is pre-Copernican: economists can’t agree on whether the Earth revolves around the Sun, or the Sun around the Earth.

Economics is politics with math thrown in to lend authority to political agendas.

Democracy never a waste of time

An article form the CP suggests that the Ontario election was pointless because it might not lead to any major change.

They are wrong. Democracy is never a waste of time.

Of course, in Canada we have a distorted version of democracy because of our primitive, 19th-century voting system, First-Past-the-Post.

It awards absolute power to arbitrary minority parties on 40% of the vote, leaving the actual majority excluded from government. Or leads to short-lived minority governments where parties jockey for more power instead of govern.

Coalition government

In the rest of the developed world, multi-party coalition governments are the norm and they usually serve out the entire 4-year term without incident.

In Canada, coalition government is either a dirty word or political ploy, although certainly a legal form of government.

We should have more coalitions. If the Liberals and NDP have enough combined seats for a majority, they should put together a coalition that commits to an entire 4-year term and do what voters put them there to do: govern.

Voting reform

We also need to modernize our voting system with either ranked ballot voting or proportional representation (true voting) to ensure an actual majority is represented in government like 31 of 34 developed countries.

Ranked ballot voting fixes our existing system, locally, by ensuring politicians are elected by a majority. It stops vote splitting and ends 4-year dictatorships on 40% of the vote.

PR true voting ensures parties get the same percent of seats they got in votes by redistributing votes at a federal or provincial level. It’s the most-widely used system in the developed world, embraced by 29 of 34 countries.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Austerity doomed to fail

This election, Tim Hudak is another Mike Harris. That’s obvious.

But although Kathleen Wynne is pretending to be the “social justice” leader, as Bloomberg points out, she’s actually a “less draconian Harris” planning the “biggest Ontario cuts since 1995” when Harris came to power.

Great Depression austerity mistake

John Keynes — the father of centrist mixed-market economics responsible for a 30-year post-war boom — urged more government spending to end the Great Depression during the 1930s.

Governments balked, implemented austerity and prolonged the slump.

As Keynes pointed out, “the boom, not the slump, is the time for austerity.”

History repeats

Paul Krugman is a modern day Keynes. He’s been urging fiscal stimulus (government spending) to end the Great Recession since the free-market collapse in 2008.

But governments have been repeating the same mistakes of the 1930s, with the same disastrous results.


Krugman pointed out how American cuts have cost $200-billion a year in economic growth and added one point to the unemployment rate.


Europe embraced austerity and killed off their recovery. The bond-rating agency Standards & Poors actually downgraded European countries back in 2012 for plans to cut spending:

As such, we believe that a reform process based on a pillar of fiscal austerity alone risks becoming self-defeating, as domestic demand falls in line with consumers’ rising concerns about job security and disposable incomes, eroding national tax revenues.


The IMF recently documented how austerity has caused much more damage than right-wing experts had anticipated.

Indeed, if the fiscal multiplier is really, really high in certain situations—such as during a downturn— then austerity could prove counterproductive.
Those higher taxes and severe spending cuts will cripple growth so much that the nation will end up with an even bigger deficit than it started out with.

Debt burden

Since the debt burden is measured in debt/GDP, this means austerity actually increases the debt burden by slowing GDP growth. Economic growth since the 2008 meltdown is already anemic.

In the post-WW2 era, we paid down the debt by increasing government spending. Infrastructure and social spending created jobs and growth which raised tax revenues. Debt was paid down to 45% by the 1970s from over 100% after the war.

All pain no gain

Instead of inflicting pointless pain on the people and making the economy and debt-burden worse, we need to slow deficit-reduction plans.

As the IMF’s chief economist noted: “Decreasing debt is a marathon, not a sprint. Going too fast will kill growth.”

Progressive taxation

We also need to embrace the tax fairness we had in the post-WW2 era by eliminating costly tax cuts for the rich. These have added to soaring inequality which has caused economic growth to dwindle.

In Ontario, Mike Harris cut income taxes by 30% causing a $5.6-billion structural deficit we never recovered from. These tax cuts must be eliminated on the highest bracket.

Pointless corporate tax cuts

The Liberals also — outrageously — cut corporate taxes from 14% to 11.5% in 2010. (The NDP stopped them from cutting them to 10% in 2011.) This added $2.4-billion to a $10-billion deficit!

Considering Canada has the lowest corporate tax rate of ALL major economies, we must raise corporate taxes higher than 14%.

Step in the right direction

Only Andrea Horwath and Tom Mulcair plan to reverse these absurd corporate tax cuts. But much more needs to be done.

Ed Broadbent blasts Wynne’s presumptuous rhetoric

Apparently, Kathleen Wynne has become the champion of the poor and huddled masses this election. According to her, she has picked up the NDP torch left behind when Andrea Horwath abandoned her principles to become the “right-wing Rob Ford party.”

Of course it turns out Wynne wants left-leaning votes a lot more than she wants to represent them.

It turns out her “most progresssive budget in two decades” is also the most regressive budget in two decades according a Bloomberg analysis. They say Wynne will bring in the “biggest cuts since 1995.”

Ms. Wynne, you are no Ed Broadbent

Aside from claiming to be the party of “social justice,” Wynne has taken to invoking past NDP leaders whom she says Andrea has betrayed. One of them was Ed Broadbent.

Ed minced no words putting Wynne in her place:

Partisan debate is one thing, but by invoking my name in weekend speeches and articles to attack Andrea Horwath and the Ontario NDP, Kathleen Wynne has gone beyond the pale.
Let no one doubt: I fully support Andrea Horwath and the Ontario NDP.

Blast from the Past

David Reevely of the Ottawa Citizen noticed a parallel between Wynne’s government weighed down in scandal and that of Paul Martin’s in 2006.

In a column titled, If you invoke Ed Broadbent, you’d better know what you’re doing, he points out what Ed Broadbent — as an NDP MP under Jack Layton’s leadership — said of the Liberals back then:

No matter how unethical, undemocratic, and unprincipled the Liberal Party becomes, the team of insiders at the top can simply not imagine people choosing to take power away.
It should be taken away…its conduct in office has not been ethical. Its contempt for Parliament is rivaled only by its manipulation of voters.

Reevely concludes:

In his final statement as an MP in 2006, Ed said that the Liberals had lost the moral authority to govern.
And so too have the Ontario Liberals.

Biggest irony of the Ontario 2014 Election goes too…

Wynne says the NDP turned down the “most progressive budget in decades.”

Of course, this implies there was two decades of regressive PC and Liberal government. None of it was close to the left side of the political spectrum, that's for sure.

But it gets even better.

Progressive regression

According to Bloomberg, Wynne's platform actually contains the biggest cuts in decades: Wynne’s Budget Fortells Biggest Ontario Cuts Since Harris. Describes Wynne as a “less draconian Harris.”

Looks like the most progressive budget in decades also happens to be the most regressive budget in decades.

I imagine partisan cognitive dissonance of this magnitude must fry more brain cells than a crystal meth binge! Looks like I tore up my federal Liberal membership card Justin time!

Fooling pro-social

If Wynne does fool enough left-leaning voters into supporting her progressive/ regressive vision for Ontario, one has to wonder if Liberal progressives will even remember she ran on a progressive platform 3 years from now when we're eye-ball deep in “pain.”

I'm more than a little skeptical.

The fire

Many so-called progressives take an odd comfort in being in the frying pan rather than in the fire.

This certainly doesn't go unnoticed by those pulling the strings of the Liberal party. Every election Liberals raise the alarm about how terrible the fire is, hoping no one will notice how hot it's getting in the frying pan.

My “right-wing Rob Ford” idea of progressive is getting out of the frying pan and away from the fire!

In a hurry

It used to be said that the NDP was the Liberal party in a hurry. But over the past 20 years or so, it's become painfully obvious the neo-cons have taken on that role…

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Don’t listen to rhetoric, compare platforms for yourself

This Ontario election, the Liberal party and Toronto Star have used the most outrageous partisan rhetoric trying to weasel Left votes for a fake majority.

They are calling NDP leader Andrea Horwath a right-wing Margaret Thatcher and Rob Ford clone. This isn’t stretching the truth a little. It’s outright lying.

In my opinion, a party willing to do anything for power doesn’t deserve it. But this is something for voters to decide.

Campaign left, govern right

Voters should also be aware that a Bloomberg analysis of Wynne’s platform reveals it to be anything but “pro-social”.

They say she’s a “less draconian Harris” planning the “biggest Ontario cuts since 1995” when Mike Harris came to power.


Which platorm is more progressive?

Policy Liberal NDP Winner
Minimum wage $11/hr indexed to inflation. $12/hr indexed to inflation. NDP
Corporate taxes Keep McGuinty’s $2.4-billion a year in tax cuts. Reverse tax cuts by $760-million a year. Close tax loopholes. NDP
Income taxes Raise taxes on top 2% by $600-million. Raise taxes on top 2% by $600-million (taken from 2014 budget.) Tie
$29-billion TISAP transit plan Support plan. Support plan. Tie
Social assistance & disability rates 1% rate hike. Index to inflation (average 2% increase a year.) NDP
Personal Support Worker wages Raise by $4/hr. No committment. OLP
Child care Complete roll-out of full-day kindergarten $260-million investment in child care spaces NDP
Electricity rates 33% hike next 3 years, cut debt charge, 10% low-income assistance program. Cut HST & debt charge, plan to reduce rates. NDP
Extended pension plan Ontario plan. Maclean’s: good for high-income earners, bad for low-income. Like other provinces, wait until 2015 federal election before proceeding. NDP
Ontario Child Benefit Increase $8.33/month (8.3%), index to inflation ($1310/yr.) Increase $8.33/month (8.3%), index to inflation ($1310/yr.) Tie
Student tuition Keep 30% tuition cut. Keep 30% tuition cut + freeze tuition + 0% interest on student loans. NDP
Child nutrition $11.6-million a year increase. $15-million a year increase. NDP
Dental care for kids Expand coverage for 70,000 kids. Expand coverage for 100,000 kids. NDP
Health clinics Open 36 new health clinics. Open 50 24-hour health clinics, alternative to ER. NDP
Cutting ‘waste’ $1.25-billion a year. $600-million a year. NDP


This election, vote on facts and vote on principle.


The NDP platform is based on revenue sources from the Liberal 2014 budget. This includes things like the cancelation of the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit on electric bills and the $600M income tax hike on the top 2% income earners.

The Ontario Child Benefit included in the Liberal 2014 is also supported by the NDP. So is the Liberal 30% Off Tuition Grant.

NDP pocket-book populism great idea

For decades, the NDP has sat on the sidelines watching Conservative and Liberal governments tear down a Just Society.

The neo-cons come in with reckless tax cuts that primarily benefit the rich: Mulroney, Harris and Harper. Then “Liberals” get power and cement them in place: Chretien, Martin, McGuinty, Wynne and now Trudeau.

This “starve the beast” see-saw ratchets the pendulum further and further right.

It causes soaring inequality, dwindling economy growth, rising government debt and the hollowing out of the middle class. In short, it’s destroying the strong economy we built up in the post-WW2 era using centrist mixed-market economics.

New direction

The only hope Canada has to stop this course of self-destruction is if the NDP forms the government. But the only way they can do that is if they appeal to a broad range of voters. That’s how democracy works.

Pocket-book populism is the key. These measures benefit all members of society, but they benefit low-income earners the most.

This is the opposite of right-wing populism like across-the-board tax cuts — or even worse, corporate tax cuts — that primarily benefit the rich.

Splitting the right vote

With our primitive voting system, First-Past-the-Post, the neo-con party gets absolute power on 40% of the vote due to vote splitting. (In a real democracy, which 31 of 34 developed countries have, 50% is required for an absolute majority.)

To keep the neo-con party away from government, the right-leaning vote must be split.

The Liberals typically split the right vote by appealing to red Tory voters. They adopt a moderate form of neo-liberal ideology. Unfortunately, they become the red Tory party in the process.

The NDP’s pocket-book populism is in the self-interest of all voters, including right-leaning ones. This will help the Liberals split the right vote and keep neo-cons from power.

Protest party

Being a protest party is doing no one any good. Proposing lofty social benefits Liberal and Con majority governments simply ignore does no good.

It’s time for progressives and centrists to join forces to save Canada from this neo-liberal plague of the past 30 years. It’s not only tearing down the Just Society built up in the post-war era, it’s destroying the economy in the process.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Star’s most outrageous partisan rhetoric

I consider myself a non-partisan centrist liberal. Although I support the NDP this election in Ontario, I’m not a blind partisan married to any party.

This election, for me, is not about my team winning. It’s about moving the pendulum from the right-wing back towards the center where it was back in the Peterson era (for example.)

I think the Toronto Star’s Liberal bias this election is painfully obvious. They’ve written about 30 op-eds that smear Andrea Horwath and outright lie.

If one views politics like sports, you’ll believe that whatever lucky break your team gets you won fair and square. But when we’re talking about the role of the fourth estate, campaigning for a party is a clear violation of the rules.

Back in the day

Back during the 2011 federal election, I supported Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. The Toronto Star ended up endorsing Jack Layton. But I didn’t notice The Star promoting NDP talking points and strategies, or unfairly attacking Ignatieff. Back then they had high standards of journalistic integrity.

Not all Star journalists are sell-outs this election. Tim Harper is an example of honest, objective journalism. He has written two columns that touch on the Ontario election. There are no biases. No partisan agenda. He describes Andrea’s NDP as a “drift to the middle” — which it clearly is if you have any comprehension of the left-right economic political spectrum.

Liberal strategy

Before I get into exposing The Star’s most outrageous partisan rhetoric, I will point out the Liberal strategy this election, since it’s obviously related.

Considering the Liberals lost a fake majority by one seat in 2011, their game plan this time around is to elbow out the NDP and win enough left-leaning votes to secure their majority.

The Liberal long game is to destroy centrist NDP leaders like Andrea Horwath and Tom Mulcair. If they can divide-and-conquer the NDP, the party might react by electing ideological leadership. This will marginalize the party like it was under Howard Hampton and Alexa McDonough and pave the way for Liberal fake majorities.

The Star’s most outrageous partisan rhetoric

  • Andrea is a “right-wing populist”: Ronald Reagan was a right-wing populist. Brought in big income tax cuts from which the wealthy benefited the most.

    Andrea is clearly not a “starve the beast” neo-con trying to destroy post-war centrist “big government.”

    Following in Jack Layton’s footsteps, Andrea is a “pocket book” populist. Clearly left-wing. The idea is to make life more affordable for people struggling in an anemic economy with rising bills, fees and regressive taxes.

    Her measures do not benefit the rich the most. They benefit low-income the most. Of course, they are meant to appeal to the most people to attract the most votes. (It’s called democracy.)

  • Andrea is Margaret Thatcher: This is the complete negation of the truth. Thatcher made deep spending cuts, cut public benefits, busted unions, privatized public utilities. Really?

  • Andrea is Rob Ford: This particular propaganda is based on Andrea’s pledge to cut $600-million in bureaucratic waste, which is a modest 0.5% of the budget. Nothing like Ford’s right-wing “gravy train” rhetoric.

    The absurd reality is that Wynne’s budget contains her own $1.25-billion in cuts to bureaucratic waste. Add hypocrisy to the ridiculous smear.

  • Andrea supports a coalition with Hudak: This groundless story was concocted by Thomas Walkom, which Wynne ran with. (In fact, Wynne set the stage by raising the coalition issue out of the blue two days before.) Wynne went on a tirade condemning Andrea for the imaginary coalition.

    A few days later, Wynne hypocritically said she would prop up a Hudak minority. (See the whole sordid story here.)

  • Andrea abandoned her party’s principles/commitment to the poor: According to Liberals, the job of the NDP is to propose big social policies — as a minor opposition party to a Liberal or PC majority — which are to be summarily ignored as Liberals and PCs slash benefits to the poor and disabled.

    The NDP are smart to realize that an incremental approach is better, especially with the pendulum way out on the right side. In a democracy, broad support is required to govern and get something accomplished. Compromise is an unavoidable requirement.

  • Andrea rejected the most progressive budget in decades: After 20 years of regressive PC and Liberal governments? The Wynne government fell because of corruption, waste and broken promises. Instead of seeking support for her budget, Wynne ran attack ads.

    (Contrary to a long-held Liberal belief, Liberals are not entitled to power.)

    Wynnes’s budget is far from progressive. According to Bloomberg, it contains the “biggest cuts since 1995” when Mike Harris came to power.

    Her pension plan is also regressive. According to Maclean’s, it gives high-income earners a boost, but gouges low-income like the federal Liberal EI reforms of the Chretien era.

  • Wynne is campaigning on a stronger social justice platform than Andrea: If you compare platforms, it’s clear that Andrea is to the left of Wynne, as you would expect.

    Wynne’s real agenda is to campaign from the left, win a majority, then govern from the right. (A strategy Chretien was infamous for.)

    Bloomberg says Wynne’s platform contains the “biggest Ontario cuts since 1995” when Mike Harris came to power. Calls Wynne a “less draconian” Harris. Anyone who associates that with social justice doesn’t remember Harris very well.

  • Andrea is creating another liberal party: If Andrea has turned the NDP into a centrist liberal party, hers would be the only one.

    Over the past 20 years, the Liberal party abandoned centrist liberal values for neo-liberal ideology. They have embraced big spending cuts, cuts to public benefits, corporate tax cuts, privatization and small government.

    They have been enablers of a neo-con “starve the beast” agenda. Neo-cons like Mulroney, Harris and Harper bring in huge tax cuts that primarily benefit the rich. Then "Liberals" like Chretien, Martin, McGuinty, Wynne and now Justin Trudeau cement them in place. The pendulum gets ratcheted further and further rightwards every time.

    Why shouldn’t the NDP represent centrist liberals the Liberal party abandoned decades ago?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Wynne’s sleazy plea for power an assault on democracy

To Kathleen Wynne, democracy and personal voting rights mean nothing. Power means everything.

In a Toronto Star editorial, she tries to pull a fast one by telling Ontarians, “a vote for Horwath is a vote for Hudak.”

Of course, the real reason she wants left-leaning votes? The real reason she forced this election she began campaigning for a month before her ill-fated budget with spending leaks and attack ads?

Power. She is trying to weasel a majority government for herself.

Campaign left, govern right

But like Liberals have tended to do over the last 20 years, she is campaigning from the left to govern right.

Bloomberg has exposed a hidden agenda of austerity in Wynne’s platform. They say she will bring in the deepest spending cuts to Ontario since Mike Harris.

As Maclean’s has pointed out, Wynne’s pension plan is regressive. It expands benefits for high income earners, but gouges low-income earners — like the federal Liberal EI reforms.

As I have documented, Wynne’s Liberals over the past few years have made “shameless cuts” to the poor and disabled, while adding $2.4-billion to the deficit with outrageous corporate tax cuts.

Empty social justice promises

Wynne says, “If you are passionate about social justice and helping the most vulnerable in Ontario, I am speaking to you.”

Unfortunately, she only wants your vote. She has absolutely no intention on representing it.

Even her 1% hike to disability rates is lower than inflation — meaning it’s an actual cut!


Don’t abandon your principles because Liberals like Wynne are so quick to abandon theirs.

Don’t give up your right to vote because Wynne wants absolute corrupt power for herself.

Compare Andrea’s and Wynne’s platforms. See who’s really for real. And vote for what’s right.

Why strategic voting doesn't work

In the 2011 federal election, 400,000 Greens voted strategically to stop Harper. But it had no effect. He still won a fake majority on 39.6% of the vote.

Why? Green voters are left-leaning and all of Harper's 40% came from the right side: blue Liberals, red Tories and hard-core cons.

The same is true in the present Ontario election. Left-side voters can't stop Hudak because he needs right-side votes to win.

How neo-cons are stopped

In order to stop the neo-con party from winning, the Liberal and NDP parties have to appeal to right-leaning voters.

The Liberal party typically tries to win over red Tories with moderate neo-liberal ideology.

The NDP appeals to voters with pocket-book issues that offer real savings for individuals and families — as opposed to neo-con tax cuts that primarily benefit the rich. (Although Liberals sneer at this as “populism,” it's actually left-wing populism, not right.)

Exception to the rule

In swing ridings where there is a clear two-way race between the PC candidate and another candidate, strategic voting makes sense.

Just keep in mind polls are far from accurate. In a three-way race your strategic vote could help rather than hinder vote splitting.


If you are a left-leaning voter, voting out of fear won’t do any good. Best to stick to your principles — and fight for voting reform to put an end to the nonsense.

Vote splitting facts

Since we have a primitive, 19-century voting system — First-Past-the-Post — a minority party wins all the power on 40% of the vote due to vote splitting.

In 2011, Harper won dozens of center-left ridings because of center-left vote splitting, which turned 40% of the vote into 54% of the seats and 100% of the power.

In a real democracy, a party needs 50% for an "absolute majority" — what it's called in the developed world (31 of 34 developed countries have democratic voting systems).

Voting reform

The only way to stop vote splitting is with voting reform.

Ranked ballot voting allows for guaranteed "Anyone But Con" strategic voting. In Australia, there are 4 right-leaning parties in an "Anyone But Labor" voting coalition. This ensures right-leaning votes are distributed among right-leaning parties.

Proportional representation (true voting) ensures parties get the same percent seats they got in votes. In the developed world, 29 of 34 use PR. There, coalitions are not a dirty word — or a political ploy — they are the norm. It's called, “democracy.”


We need to upgrade our voting system to eliminate absurd election results.

Unfortunately, a lot of corruption stands in the way.

The neo-con party is opposed to voting reform because it would stop them from getting 4-year dictatorships.

The Liberal party is opposed because during elections they can use fear of a neo-con majority to manipulate voters into giving them their own 4-year dictatorship.

The corporate-owned media is opposed because it's easier for corporations to lobby and influence minority-party dictatorships than democratic government.

So it will take hard work from the people and the social media to bring democracy to Canada.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

How Wynne blew the Globe and Mail endorsement

This election in Ontario, the red-Tory editorial board of the Globe and Mail reluctantly endorsed a Tim Hudak minority.

How did Kathleen Wynne blow the endorsement Dalton McGuinty got in 2011?

In trying to out-left the NDP, she ended up alienating right-leaning voters.

As far as Liberal campaign strategies go, this has got to be one of the dumbest.

Liberal territory

Since the Liberals straddle the center, they have to reach out leftwards and rightwards to get votes. The right side is more important, however, because the neo-con party can win a 4-year dictatorship on 40% of the vote.

Therefore it's the job of a Liberal leader to win over moderate right-leaning voters to keep the neo-con party away from government.

Iggy blunder

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff made the same blunder in the 2011 federal election. He handed Harper the economy in an election campaign that was all about the economy.

This despite the fact that Liberal policies were responsible for Canada's relative economic resilience according to The Economist.


No doubt if Wynne blows the election as well — by handing Hudak the blue Liberal and red Tory vote — Liberals will try to blame the NDP.

Why take responsibility for your own blunders and failures when you can pin them on someone else?

Wynne, Walkom coalition scheming comes full circle

Here's a little Machiavellian theatre of the absurd.

Back on May 28, Wynne surprised journalists by not ruling out a coalition with the NDP.

I thought: finally, a politician with some integrity willing to stand up for our democracy and constitution. Turned out I spoke too soon.

Stage is set

This actually set the stage for The Star's Thomas Walkom to smear Andrea Horwath.

Two days later, Walkom came out with a baseless piece that implied Andrea was willing to form a coalition with Tim Hudak. Part of the Star's “Andrea is right-wing” theme.

Did Andrea suggest any such thing? No. But why let facts get in the way of a convenient story?


Next day, Wynne ran with the Walkom piece attacking Horwath for her “unprincipled stance” over the Hudak coalition.

She railed, “It is shocking that the party of Jack Layton and Stephen Lewis … would be thinking about supporting Tim Hudak.”

Accused Andrea of betraying NDP principles. Enlightened voters that a vote for Andrea is a vote for Hudak.

A little hypocrisy

Four days later, Wynne came out saying she would now do that which she condemned only a few days earlier: she would prop up a Hudak minority if it came to it.

Later the same day, Walkom came out with a column saying Wynne has ruled out a coalition with the NDP.

The circle of sleaze is complete.

Immoral of the story

The point of Walkom's last column? Left-leaning voters better give Wynne her majority, or else!

And I thought used-car salesmen were disgusting…

Friday, June 6, 2014

Business New Net blows up Wynne’s pretend progressive platform

If you were to believe the Toronto Star, Kathleen Wynne is the left-wing leader this election, and Andrea Horwath a “right-wing populist”: just another Margaret Thatcher, Mike Harris and Rob Ford…

Certainly the campaign strategy of the Liberals — and the Toronto Star — is to fool enough left-leaning voters to snag Wynne an undeserved fake majority government.

If one does a little research, however, it's clear that Horwath's platform is to the left of Wynne's (as one would expect.)

Campaign left, govern right

What's even more enlightening is that Wynne is actually campaigning from the left to govern from the right.

Not only is she making promises she has no intention of keeping, her platform contains a number of deep hidden spending cuts.

Cohn: from progressive to “pain”

The Star's Martin Cohn can't heap enough praise on Wynne — and disdain on Horwath. But in an column where he lauds Wynne for lurching left (in spirit) to right past Liberal wrongs, he also says:

Just as Hudak’s math doesn’t add up, … Wynne’s numbers likely won’t hold up after the ballots are counted.

Instead of awaiting a progressive paradise, expect “pain.”

Rob Ford Anyone?

Star columnists have been all over Andrea for promising to cut $600-million in bureaucratic waste. This is the premise of their “Andrea is Rob Ford” rhetoric.

But the fact is Wynne has plans of her own to eliminate bureaucratic waste — except her cuts add up to $1.25-billion a year!

Looks like Wynne is double dipping on some RoFo gravy!

Business News Network Bomb

The BNN exposed much more disturbing hidden cuts in Wynne's platform.

Her so-called stimulus vision to turn around the province's economy will only last one year!

Then it will be followed by the “biggest cuts since 1995” when Mike Harris came to power.

Yet Wynne’s own budget documents show this year’s spending surge will be followed by the deepest freeze in two decades.

Less draconian Harris

Where as Harris slashed spending by $533 per person in today's dollars, Wynne plans on reducing spending by $179 below 2013 levels by 2017-18 — erasing all 2014 spending increases.

Is a less-draconian Mike Harris the real pro-social choice for Ontarians? I'll leave that for readers to decide.


While Wynne offers a pretend left-wing platform to cover up a neo-liberal agenda, Andrea Horwath offers the real deal.

While Wynne inflicts more “pain” on average Ontarians to pay for $2.4-billion a year in failed corporate tax cuts, Andrea is willing to embrace fair taxation.

While Wynne piles broken promises upon broken promises, Andrea is willing to step up for people and do the right thing.

This election forget all the sleazy electioneering. Vote on principle.

The Sun and The Star

I’ve always been critical of the Sun Media and it’s corrupt agenda to promote conservative ideology and parties, and get involved in partisan politics. It’s an outright betrayal of the fourth estate and democracy.


My theory is that it’s a form of crypto-fascism. The first thing military fascist dictatorships do when they come to power is take control of the media. This allows dictators to disseminate propaganda and prevent any unfavorable portrayal of the government.

With crypto-fascists in North America, they decided to create their own media to disseminate propaganda and ensure favorable coverage of their parties and governments. That’s how Fox News and Sun News were born.

In Canada there’s a conservative “axis of evil”: the conservative parties, Sun News and the Manning Center For Democracy. The Manning Center holds conservative conferences and trains campaign workers on strategy and media communication. Sun News coordinates with conservative parties on talking points.

Journalistic objectivity

Wikipedia defines journalistic objectivity as:

Journalistic objectivity is a significant principle of journalistic professionalism. Journalistic objectivity can refer to fairness, disinterestedness, factuality, and nonpartisanship, but most often encompasses all of these qualities.

Clearly Sun News significantly violates fairness, disinterestedness and nonpartisanship (at least.)

But this election in Ontario, they’re not the only ones.

Star Liberal campaign

The Toronto Star has been actively campaigning for the Liberal party since the election dropped. I’ve never seen anything like it (well except from Sun News.)

Aside from dozens of op-eds that heap praise on Kathleen Wynne and explain away any scandals her government was involved in, they have published about 30 pieces that attack Andrea Horwath with smears, sneers and outright lies.

Their main line of attack is to claim she’s a “right-wing populist”: just another Margaret Thatcher, Mike Harris and Rob Ford. This rhetoric is so outrageous it’s a page right out of Goebbels: the bigger the lie the more people will believe it.

Liberal strategy

Why is the Liberal party campaigning against NDP leader Andrea Horwath? Wynne’s strategy is: campaign from the left, squeeze out the NDP and win her coveted majority her party missed by one seat in 2011.

Why is the Toronto Star rhetoric the same as the Liberal party’s? Because like Sun News, they are coordinating strategy and talking points with the party they support.

Now, in the last week of the campaign, the Liberal Star’s transformation is complete: their website has Liberal red and party advertising plastered all over it.


When I was young I imagined the 21st century would bring flying cars. I never considered the possibility it would bring about the death of journalism and the decline of democracy.

Hopefully the social media will replace the old, corrupt, corporate-owned media in influence and bring about a rebirth of democracy.

Liberal Star in all it’s glory

Toronto Sun — surprisingly less crass

One PC ad at the top, in case you didn’t notice it…

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Wynne’s appalling coalition hypocrisy

Just before advanced polls opened, Kathleen Wynne railed against Andrea Horwath’s “unprincipled stance” by not ruling out supporting the Tories in a minority government.

It is shocking that the party of Jack Layton and Stephen Lewis … would be thinking about supporting Tim Hudak. A vote right now for Andrea Horwath might be a vote for Tim Hudak.

Did Andrea suggest in any way, shape or form she was open to forming a coalition with Tim Hudak? No.

She simply refused to speculate on any hypotheticals. As Andrea said, she’s “in it to win it,” not be the balance of power.

Wynne does what she condemned

Now Wynne is taking the exact same position Andrea took! She essentially repeated Andrea’s words which she earlier condemned:

Hypothetical. Hypothetical. Hypothetical. We’re running for a strong mandate. We’re looking for a mandate from the people of Ontario.

I guess according to Wynne’s logic, this means she plans to form a coalition with Hudak! A vote for Wynne is a vote for Hudak!

Propping up Hudak

Wynne says she’s open to propping up a Hudak minority.

If that isn’t what the people of Ontario choose then we will continue to work in a minority parliament with whoever the government is.

Despite absurd Liberal and Star smears that Andrea is “right-wing,” the fact is Wynne has a lot more in common with Hudak than Andrea (whose platform is left of Wynne’s.)

Take corporate taxes. The Liberals wanted to cut them from 14% to 10%. Andrea stopped them at 11.5% and plans on reversing them. Hudak wants to cut them to 8%.

If Wynne and Hudak work together in a minority government, they could settle on 9%, blowing a $5-billion hole in the budget (currently $2.4-billion a year thanks to Liberal corporate tax cuts.)


Voters should keep in mind the 2008 federal election. Stephane Dion and Jack Layton wanted to form a coalition and oust Harper. But Michael Ignatieff was crowned Liberal leader and preferred to prop up Harper instead.

How well did that work out for Canadians?

Liberal propaganda

The same day of Wynne's advanced poll attack on Andrea, the following polished Photoshop picture was put out on Twitter. As someone who uses Photoshop, I can tell you this kind of work takes some time and planning (especially with the 3D perspective and matching fonts.)

It was obviously crafted by the Liberal war room to accompany Wynne's straw-man coalition propaganda — now debunked by Wynne herself.

Conservative, Liberal corporate tax cut folly

After more than a decade of corporate tax cuts, Canada has the lowest effective corporate tax rate of ALL major economies.

The Chretian-Martin Liberals and Harper Conservatives cut corporate taxes by 50%. Harper’s 25-point cut cost $14.9-billion a year according his 2009 budget.

NDP leader Jack Layton stopped Paul Martin from cutting corporate taxes further when propping up his minority government in 2004. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau supports Harper’s corporate tax cuts.

Former Ontario Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty cut corporate taxes from 14% to 11.5% — costing $2.4-billion a year. He planned to cut them to 10%, but NDP leader Andrea Horwath stopped him for support of his 2011 minority government.

PC leader Tim Hudak plans on cutting corporate taxes to 8%, which would cost $6-billion a year in total.

International rates

According to KPMG’s international business guide, Competitive Alternatives:

Corporate income taxes are lowest in Canada (7.3 per cent effective corporate income tax rate), France (14.7 per cent), and China (14.8 per cent).
At the other end of the scale, effective corporate income taxes exceed 30 per cent in Japan (31.5 per cent), Brazil (36.1 per cent), and Italy (37.6 per cent).

Corporate revenues

According to the OECD, resource-based economies take in a large share of corporate tax revenues: Norway 10.7%, Australia 5.2%, Canada 3.2% (of GDP.)

Every single percentage point represents $19-billion dollars a year in Canada.

Over the past decade, we had a resource boom that killed 300,000 manufacturing jobs in Ontario. But instead of getting our fair share, we awarded tar-sands corporations big tax cuts and subsidies.


Corporations have been pocketing the money, not “creating jobs.” These tax cuts have not bolstered GDP or productivity growth. Economic growth is anemic. Productivity growth is “abysmal” according to former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney.

End this corporate welfare!

Both federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair and Andrea Horwath are right: it’s time to reverse these failed tax cuts. When policy fails to get results the sensible thing to do is scrap it!

Our ultra-low corporate tax rate amounts to nothing more than tens of billions of dollars a year in corporate welfare.

While families are struggling in an anemic economy caused by soaring inequality, Conservatives and Liberals are fattening the stock portfolios of the wealthy with lavish corporate welfare. This neo-liberal corruption has to be stopped.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Cohn says Wynne to deliver ‘pain’ after votes counted

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.”

Andrea’s leaning

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?

Tax fairness

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.

Tough choices

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.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Toronto Star: fiercely opposed to Andrea Horwath

This election in Ontario, the Toronto Star is pulling out all the stops trying to secure a majority for Kathleen Wynne — which her party missed by one seat in 2011.

They have published a lot of pieces critical of Tim Hudak. This is not unexpected. He proposes to bring another hard-right neo-con revolution to Ontario. Much of his platform is very controversial.

Why so anti-Andrea?

But why so many columns — 24 op-eds since the campaign start — so fiercely opposed to Andrea Horwath?

The Star claims to be a progressive newspaper: a "paper for the people." Yet if one compares Andrea’s platform to Wynne’s, it’s clear that Andrea’s platform is to the left of Wynne’s.

So considering Andrea doesn’t represent a threat to The Star’s core values, why are they so up in arms?

Why the lies?

The rhetoric The Star is using against Andrea is not only filled with sneers and smears, it contains outright lies — and some are real whoppers.

It appears The Star editorial board — or perhaps TOSTAR corporation masters of the universe — are taking a page from Goebbels: the bigger the lie the more people will believe it.

For example, Rick Salutin called Andrea a “right-wing populist — full out.” Claimed she’s Rob Ford, Mitt Romney, Margaret Thatcher and Mike Harris all rolled into one. These ridiculous accusations are so far out of the ballpark you’d need the Keck Observatory telescope to get a beat on them.

Why attack? Strategy

The reason Wynne is suddenly “lurching left” this election is to squeeze out the NDP and win the majority her party missed by one seat in 2011. The reason The Star is attacking Andrea with an onslaught of relentless rhetoric is to help Wynne squeeze out the NDP.


The Ontario Liberal party and the Toronto Star make the perfect match this election: they are both mired in corruption.

What The Star is trying to do is not only a betrayal of the fourth estate, it is a betrayal of democracy.


Here are all 24 anti-Andrea pieces documented with highlights of the contents.

Editorials: 3

► Premier Kathleen Wynne needs a mandate from Ontarians: Editorial: May 2 A provincial election in Ontario will give Premier Kathleen Wynne a chance to win her own mandate

All this because of a missing financial accountability office? Really?

All this because of corruption, waste & broken promises. All this because Wynne ditched all the NDP policies in her 2013 budget. All this because instead of seeking support for her budget confidence vote, she ran attack ads and sent ultimatums.

Horwath’s policies are fuzzy. She hasn’t promoted traditional NDP issues, such as minimum wage increases. Instead, she has embraced a populist, anti-tax agenda focused on the “middle class.”

This is ridiculous. Andrea demands $12/hr minimum wage indexed to inflation. Better than Wynne’s $11/hr. She promises to cancel Wynne’s $2.4-billion corporate tax cuts for the rich. (Who exactly is supposed to be anti-tax here?)

She offers the poor and disabled rates indexed to inflation — unlike Wynne’s 1% bump that is less than the inflation rate. She offers an HST cut on soaring electricity rates. This will help out low-income the most considering electricity bills make up the biggest share of income.

It’s time that Wynne sought her own mandate from Ontarians.

Yes, that would be better than trying to weasel votes by blaming others for her failed government.

► The Ontario NDP’s campaign platform offers populist platitudes: Editorial: May 23 The Ontario NDP defeated the Liberal government’s progressive budget for a platform of scattered promises.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath’s new campaign platform inadvertently raises one rather noteworthy question: You forced an election for this?

Actually, the Wynne government fell because of corruption, waste & broken promises. She ditched all NDP policies in her 2013 budget. Instead of seeking support, she ran attack ads and gave ultimatums.

If Wynne wasn’t trying to force an election, she a poor job managing the bill.

But impartial Ontarians can have a look at the kind of platform Andrea is really offering. One can compare Andrea’s and Wynne’s platforms for themselves. Or read them directly: NDP, Liberal.

But it will be interesting to see how many voters are so wary of Hudak’s tilt to the right and so hungry for change after 11 years of Liberal government that they are prepared to choose a premier who is so obviously winging it.

"So obviously winging it" is so obviously agenda-driven rhetoric. The Star is sucking and blowing at the same time. One minute they are saying Andrea’s platform is the same as Wynne’s. The next there saying Andrea’s platform is flimsy. The next they are saying her platform is a right-wing clone of Hudak’s platform.

This sneering commentary leaves out the fact Andrea delivered on key social issue The Star was calling for: dental care for kids, and a good child-care strategy.

But on key issues like gridlock — the biggest topic in Toronto these days — the NDP’s $29-billion transit plan was clearly lifted from the Liberal budget.

This is pure nonsense. The $29-billion transit plan was created by the Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel, not the Liberal party.

► Ontarians deserve answers in leadership debate: Editorial: June 2 After campaigning on vague promises, all three Ontario provincial party leaders better come clean in Tuesday night’s debate.

For NDP Leader Andrea Horwath: She’s mainly responsible for this election, after refusing to support the Liberals’ progressive budget. Yet she has not offered a convincing reason for going to the polls beyond saying that she’s fed up with Liberal “corruption.”

Liberal waste, corruption and broken promises. Wynne ditched all NDP policies in her 2013 budget. She began campaigning a month before the election with attack ads and leaked spending announcements.

Wynne offered no convincing reason for anyone to support her budget.

How would she save a promised $600 million when her plan to cut ministries and cap CEO salaries in the public sector would deliver only a fraction of that?

In the Liberal 2014 budget, the Liberals plan to cut bureaucratic waste by twice that amount: $1.25-billion a year. Andrea’s goal of a 0.5% reduction is a modest one. She, of course, does not have the government resources at her disposal to get into details.

How is Horwath’s $29-billion plan to fight traffic gridlock in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area better or different than the Liberals’ plan, which would cost the same amount?

This is a false argument. The $29-billion transit plan was created by the Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel, not the Liberal party.

For perhaps the first time in Ontario history, the Liberal party is campaigning on a stronger social justice platform than the New Democrats. How does Horwath explain or excuse this dramatic turnaround? And in view of that reversal, why should supporters of social causes entrust their vote to her?

This is a false statement. Andrea’s platform is left of Wynne’s platform. The claim Andrea is “right-wing” is all Toronto Star electioneering.

Wynne’s half-baked pension plan is also regressive. According to Maclean’s:, it is great for upper-income, but bad for low-income: they will be forced to pay $2 for every $1 they receive in benefits.

Carol Goar: 1

► Ontario NDP sheds role as champion of the poor: Goar: May 15 Andrea Horwath campaigns for lean government, forsaking the poor, hungry and homeless.

She triggered the election by rejecting the most progressive provincial budget in decades, one that would have raised the minimum wage, increased the Ontario Child Benefit, improved welfare rates, and provided more support to people with disabilities.

Wynne began campaigning a month before her suddenly-progressive budget was released with spending leaks and attack ads. She ditched all the NDP policies in her 2013 budget. Instead of seeking support, she offered ultimatums. Her government was mired in corruption and waste.

Instead of wading through all this muck, Andrea decided to offer Ontarians higher minimum wage and better rates and support for the poor and disabled.

She is not interested in being the conscience of the legislature or the standard-bearer for the principles of J.S. Woodsworth, Tommy Douglas and Stephen Lewis.

Tommy Douglas was not a magic-wand socialist. Although he was the first premier to bring healthcare to Canada in 1946, he had to compromise and settle for partial coverage. It took 20 years of hard work to bring universal health care to all Canadians. While premier of Saskatchewan he ran balanced budgets. He is the exactly the kind of New Democrat that Andrea emulates.

Haroon Siddiqui: 1

► Kathleen Wynne is best choice by far as NDP, PCs turn right, far right Given her personal and political qualities, and the significant failings of her opponents, Kathleen Wynne is the best choice for premier.

Andrea Horwath is the NDP’s Michael Ignatieff. As federal Liberal leader, he kept threatening to topple Harper’s then-minority government even as he kept propping it up. Horwath spent two years threatening to bring down the minority Liberal government, even while supporting Dalton McGuinty and then Kathleen Wynne.

This wins the lamest analogy of the year award.

Horwath spent 2.5 years trying to work with obstinate Liberal leaders. McGuinty reluctantly agreed to raise income taxes on the rich, then tried sneaking in a number of neo-liberal measures via an omnibus attachment to the budget. In 2013, Wynne agreed to put some NDP policies in her 2013 budget, but later ditched them all.

In 2014, Wynne cut the NDP out of the process. Began campaigning a month before the budget was released running attack ads and leaking spending announcements. Instead of seeking support for a bill that required a confidence vote, she rendered ultimatums.

When Horwath finally pulled the plug, she did it over a budget that was tailor-made for the NDP — a provincial pension plan for working folks (something she herself had advocated), higher welfare benefits, better child care benefits, etc.

According to Maclean’s, Wynne’s pension plan is regressive. High-income get a boost, low-income get hosed: forced to pay $2 for every $1 they receive in benefits. Andrea demanded higher minimum wage, higher benefits for the poor and disabled which the Liberals were slashing. The Liberal budget offered no child care benefits. Only the NDP platform offers them.

She is running a populist campaign of clichés that would do Rob Ford proud — slash “waste,” cut consultants’ fee, reduce public sector executive wages, and appoint “a minister for savings,” who would, magically, find $600 million a year.

More absurd rhetoric. Wynne’s 2014 budget plans for a $1.25-billion a year cut in bureaucratic waste. That would make Wynne a double Rob Ford!

Rick Salutin: 2

► Andrea Horwath’s right-wing populism: Salutin: May 8 After years of possibly delusional but honourable attempts by the NDP to stay anchored to its social democratic principles, Andrea Horwath marks a change.

This is the absurd column that says Andrea is "right-wing populist — full out": Rob Ford, Mitt Romney, Margaret Thatcher and Mike Harris all rolled into one. Already debunked.

► The ambiguous act of casting a vote: Salutin: May 22 Sometimes Canadians cast their votes to punish the party in power. The payoff is entirely symbolic.

Here’s an example. In the federal election of 2006, Jack Layton’s NDP urged voters to give the Liberal government a “time out” because of the patronage scandals. Those who followed his advice got eight years of Stephen Harper (and counting) plus they lost the very practical benefits of a national child-care program and the Kelowna Accord with native peoples.

Some may say Rick Salutin is the most progressive guy in the universe, but here he is repeating a lame Liberal line.

First, the Liberals broke their national day care promise 4 elections in a row, spanning 13 years. They had the funding: $10-billion surpluses. But they clearly had no intention on delivering.

So in 2006 Martin’s government fell because of corruption and broken promises. Then Martin lost the election to Harper. In 2008, Dion lost even bigger to Harper. In 2011, Ignatieff brought the Liberal party to its greatest defeat in history.

Iggy was oblivious to the fact the election was about the economy, and handed the economy to Harper on a silver platter (even though its strengths were due to Liberal policies according to The Economist.) All he had to do was hold on to a couple points of the blue Liberal vote — like a hapless Dion managed to do — to stop Harper. But he could even manage that.

Clearly it’s pathetic to suggest all this bungling and incompetence from three Liberal leaders is all Jack Layton’s fault.

In this Ontario election, Andrea Horwath’s NDP echoes that message: their first ads tell voters to put the Liberals in the penalty box. The practical result could well be a Tim Hudak government and the loss of all the NDP-ish items that were in the budget Horwath rejected. What’s the payoff? It’s entirely symbolic. You get to “spank” the Liberals for their scandals and corruption, another term used frequently.

Let’s look at the facts. Hudak needs 40% of the RIGHT-leaning vote to win a fake majority (thanks to our absurd voting system, First-Past-the-Post.) However the Left votes, it will not help or hinder Hudak.

Is Salutin appealing to right-leaning voters to give Wynne a break? No. He is trying to weasel left votes for the Liberal party so Wynne can win her own majority.

Don’t be fooled by Salutin’s anti-democratic tripe.

Thomas Walkom: 8

► NDP Leader Andrea Horwath risks much by forcing Ontario election: Walkom: May 2 If June 12 vote results in a Tim Hudak Tory sweep, left-liberal voters will be furious with the NDP.

She wants more New Democrats elected to the Ontario legislature, even if the result is a Conservative government Wynne began campaigning for the election a month before releasing her "progressive" budget with attack ads and a barrage of spending leaks. So it would appear Wynne wants more Liberals elected — to snag her majority — even if the result is a Hudak government.
All of this raises echoes from the past — particularly from 2005, when Jack Layton’s federal New Democrats pulled the plug on Paul Martin’s minority Liberal government just as it was about to bring in a national child care program.

Yeah right. The Liberals broke their national daycare promise 4 elections in a row and it’s all Jack Latyon’s fault for not propping up Martin’s corrupt, red-Tory government 13 years later!

The subsequent federal election, it will be recalled, gave the NDP more seats. But it also introduced eight years of Conservative rule under Stephen Harper.

Actually, Ignatieff rejected the 2008 Liberal-NDP coalition that would’ve ousted Harper and instead chose to prop up the Harper Government. Jack Latyon must have used mind control on poor ol’ Iggy!

And if Hudak becomes premier, a big swath of left-liberal voters will be furious with the NDP.

Maybe they will be furious with Wynne for trying to out-left the NDP, exposing her right flank and letting Hudak into 40% majority territory. This the same kind of incompetence McGuinty displayed in 1999.

► These downtown Toronto voters blasé about Liberal scandals: Walkom: May 7 A stroll through the NDP-held Trinity-Spadina riding finds many willing to give Kathleen Wynne another chance.

So it’s no wonder that some in this riding are baffled by the prospect of yet another election.
“Hudak seems scary and I don’t know anything about the NDP ... I think this gas plant stuff is terrible, but I don’t know.”
“I really don’t want another Liberal government. But I really don’t want Hudak — and I’m mad at (New Democratic Party leader) Andrea Horwath for wasting money to have an election. “So I guess I’ll vote Liberal.”
The NDP? “I can’t buy into them. They’ve turned down an opportunity to work with the Liberals on policies they like ... I guess the Liberals are the best of the worst.”

In other words, Walkom cherry picked some anecdotal evidence to make Andrea look bad. Did he even bother to interview people, or did he make everything up?

► What’s behind Ontario’s weird election campaign: Walkom: May 16 Liberals, Tories and New Democrats are acting out of character. They have their reasons.

And the New Democrats, who have moved equally dramatically [right], are campaigning as wannabe Tories — promising tax cuts to small business and an end to government waste.

Andrea is not out of character. She is following Jack Latyon’s idea to expand the NDP tent to include centrist voters the red-Tory Liberals abandoned. She plans on reducing $600-million in waste to fund social spending — which is less than the $1.25-billion Wynne plans to eliminate.

If Andrea was a wannabe Tory — like Wynne — she would offer big corporate tax cuts. Wynne is borrowing $2.4-billion every year to pay out to the rich in corporate tax cuts. Andrea plans on cancelling this failed corporate welfare.

Yet, under Andrea Horwath, the New Democrats were already shifting rightward. In part, they were following the trend of social democratic parties worldwide, from Britain’s Labour under Tony Blair to France’s Socialists under François Hollande.

Actually the Liberal party is the counter-part to the UK Labor party. The NDP is the counter-part to the Lib-Dem party.

The Liberal party has certainly shifted rightward. Over the past 20 years they have become the Brian Mulroney party effecting a neo-liberal agenda. They brought in spending cuts and corporate tax cuts Mulroney could only dream of.

► Ontario election campaign prepares for nasty phase: Walkom: May 20 Those blithe enough to think that Liberals and NDP “progressives” could ever coalesce against Stephen Harper should watch this race.

The Tory leader says he won’t use his television ads to demonize the Liberals. In fact, he doesn’t need to. Andrea Horwath’s NDP is doing that job for him.

This is absurdly false. Wynne began “demonizing“ Andrea and Hudak a month before the election with unprecedented pre-budget attack ads. Hudak is certainly running attack ads on Wynne.

Of course, the Liberals don’t like Andrea using the word ’corrupt’ to describe their blatant attempt to buy a majority government in 2011 with $1.1-billion by cancelling unpopular gas plants. But look up the word. It fits the bill.

Indeed, Horwath’s rhetoric has been harsher than Hudak’s.

Andrea criticizes the Liberal government for corruption and waste. If pointing out the Liberal record is harsh, what does that say about the Liberal government?

Hudak adds to that real harsh rhetoric against: “disastrous” pension “job tax,”, College of Trades run by “powerbrokers and special interests that help her get elected”, “ethically distrastrous and morally wrong” corporate welfare. Really?

So far, at least, the NDP are not campaigning as if they expect to form government. They have not issued a platform.

The Liberals released their platform 5 days after Andrea released hers. And Andrea didn’t have government resources at her disposal.

If they can crush the Liberals and become official opposition to a majority Hudak Tory government, they will be ecstatic.

What sewer did Walkom crawl down to dig this one up? But will the Liberals and Toronto Star be estatic if they crush the NDP and weasel a majority? Or do they just feel entitled to power?

► What Andrea Horwath’s election platform says about the NDP: Walkom: May 23 The Ontario NDP is business-friendly, fiscally sober, socially concerned and a bit to the right of Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals

Andrea Horwath’s seven-page election platform is more of a talisman than a blueprint for power. This is not to disparage the Ontario New Democratic Party leader. Most NDP voters would be shocked if Horwath became premier after the June 12 election.

Speak for yourself.

Instead of taking Walkom’s “non-disparaging”, “fair and balanced” summary of Andrea’s platform, look for yourself here. You can also compare Andrea’s and Wynne’s platforms for yourself.

It’s no surprise that Horwath and Wynne come to the same conclusion here. The NDP platform accepts as given all of the government’s fiscal premises. It then adds and subtracts around the edges to come up with a near-identical scenario.

So Andrea’s platform is a joke, but apparently identical to Wynne’s platform, which is a serious document… Yeah right.

First, they are not the old New Democrats. In fact, they are so unlike them that a group of 34 high-profile NDP supporters (including former Starcolumnist Michele Landsberg) has taken the unusual step of publicly threatening to break with the party.

According to Abacus Data: ‘Horwath very popular with NDP core voters. 72% have a positive impression.’ No doubt, the 34 disgruntled social democrats were happier when the NDP languished in the polls under Howard Hampton and Alexa McDonough. Come to think of it, so were partisan Liberals!

Like federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, Horwath has gone out of her way to portray her party as market-oriented and business-friendly.

Certainly not as much as the Wynne or Trudeau Liberals who can’t say enough good things about big corporate tax cuts that don’t create jobs, boost GDP or bolster productivity growth. Andrea and Tom will cancel these failed and costly tax cuts for the rich.

► Why Ontario Tories and NDP are upping their anti-Wynne rhetoric: Walkom: May 27 Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath are desperate to remind voters why they should hate the Liberals

The New Democrats accuse her of belonging to a “corrupt” government.

What word would Liberals prefer Andrea use to describe a government mired in scandals, including a botched attempt to buy a majority government with $1.1-billion of taxpayer money?

The NDP says it would cut $600 million a year and also won’t say how.

The Liberals say they would cut $1.25-billion a year and won’t say how. Guess they must be twice as flaky.

Indeed, a major debate within the NDP now is whether the party has become simply a variant of the Liberals.

No the NDP of Jack Latyon, Andrea Horwath and Tom Mulcair is left-leaning Keynesian.

The Liberals are the Brian Mulroney party favoring Tough Tory Times for the little people and big free-money tax cuts for the wealthy.

Disgruntled New Democrats, including 34 who wrote an open letter to Horwath last week, say the NDP has moved to the right of the Liberals.

Looks like they were fooled by reading too much Toronto Star propaganda.

A comparison of Andrea’s and Wynne’s platforms clearly puts the NDP to the left of Wynne — even with her recent “left-lurching” agenda-driven budget.

Both Hudak and Horwath know that if they are to succeed, they must do more than attack the Liberal platform. They must brutally and deliberately bring Wynne down.

Clearly The Star is projecting here. They believe if they are to succeed — in securing Wynne a fake majority government — they must brutally and deliberately bring Horwath down.

But Andrea does not sink to their level. She criticizes the Liberal record. If that is "brutal" what does that say about the Liberal record?

► Gang of 34 letter points to real problems within Horwath’s NDP: Walkom: May 28 Andrea Horwath’s NDP critics aren’t just champagne socialists. They’re onto something.

Andrea Horwath’s NDP critics aren’t just champagne socialists. They’re onto something.

Yeah, no one knows how real social democrats think more than agenda-driven partisan Liberals!

Or, to put it another way: If the NDP simply wants to be a right-wing version of the Liberal Party, what is the point of voting New Democrat? Why not vote Liberal. Or Conservative?

This is a laugh. Andrea’s platform is clearly to the left of Wynne’s platform — without the "campaign left, govern right" ploy.

The NDP is actually expanding its tent to include centrist voters abandoned by the Liberals after 20 years of red-Tory leadership.

If the NDP was a right-wing version of the Liberal party, they would be the Conservative party.

They are creating a left-leaning centrist party like the Pearson-Douglas government and the Peterson-Rae government. There are a lot of reasons a lot of voters would want to get behind that.

In its rush to the centre, can the NDP remain different from other parties? If it can’t, why should voters bother with it?

Andrea’s NDP are the real deal. Real progressive-centrist. Unlike Wynne, Andrea is not pretending to be left so she can win all the power and govern from the right.

► Why Ontario’s NDP might back a Hudak minority government: Walkom: May 30 A post-election deal between Andrea Horwath’s NDP and Tim Hudak’s Tories isn’t out of the question.

This has got to be the sleaziest of the bunch — and that’s saying a lot.

The goal was to manufacture a scandal right before advance polls opened up — real upstanding fourth-estate service.

In the interview, Andrea refused to speculate on anything until the election results are in. As she later pointed out, she’s running to be the premier not the balance of power.

Walkom spins this proper response into a likely coalition with Tim Hudak, even though both parties are light-years away on the issues. When it comes to taking some one out of context, it doesn’t get any more treacherous than this.

The smear piece had the desired effect of generating headlines. A non-issue was manufactured into a major story just as advanced polls opened. Of the 25 pieces The Star published to weasel left-leaning votes for a Wynne majority, this was probably the most successful.

If Walkom gets laid off from The Star due to cutbacks, he would fit right in at Sun News. Could even get his own hour-long cable show! Neo-con? Neo-liberal? What’s the difference as long as you’re getting paid?

Martin Regg Cohn: 9

► Ontario’s wild-card spring election: Cohn: May 2 At the end of the day — or about 41 days of campaigning — will voters cast their ballots by choosing between the ghosts of McGuinty, Harris and Rae?

At the end of the day — or about 41 days of campaigning — will voters cast their ballots by choosing between the ghosts of McGuinty, Harris and Rae?

Hudak is worse than Harris. Wynne was involved in McGuinty’s corruption and waste. Andrea is a moderate, not a reckless ideologue like Rae was when premier of Ontario.

But this is the new New Democratic Party (nNDP), a once-progressive movement remade as a populist party in Horwath’s pragmatic image:

A once-ignored progressive movement that achieved nothing while the Liberals and Cons moved the country further and further to the right.

In a democracy compromises must be made one way or another. Offering relief to struggling families being gouged by Liberal cuts, fees, regressive taxes and endless hydro hikes is not corrupt or wrong. It’s giving people what they need and deserve.

More scandal-mongering than substantive. More anti-tax than the Tories. And more fixated on the putative gravy train panacea than Rob Ford himself (Horwath’s two favourite talking points are high salaries for public servants and chauffeurs for cabinet ministers).

Andrea’s platform is much bigger than the failed Liberal record. Being opposed to failed corporate tax cuts we’re borrowing $2.4-billion a year is sensible. Cutting the HST on a necessity like electricity, is clearly not more anti-tax than Hudak.

Andrea is clearly opposed to the slash-and-burn approach of neo-cons like Ford, Hudak and Harper. Fact is, Wynne proposes $1.25-billion in cuts to waste — double what Andrea proposes.

Will the election of 2014 really be fought over a footnote to 2011?

LOL. Will trying to buy a majority government with $1.1-billion of taxpayer money ever seriously be considered a "footnote"?

Will voters cast their ballots by choosing between the ghosts of McGuinty, Harris and Rae? By June 12 they are more likely to look forward, by taking a hard look at what’s on offer from Wynne, Hudak and Horwath.

Will voters double down on trickle down? Will voters double down on corruption and incompetence? Or will voters go for moderate change that will provide real relief from 11 years of getting gouged by entitled Liberal elites?

► Kathleen Wynne must put Dalton McGuinty behind her: Cohn: May 4 With the stench of a gas plant scandal still wafting over Queen’s Park, Kathleen Wynne must clear the air or be claimed by the fallout.

Curiously for a New Democrat, she eschews policy pronouncements, plays down progressive proposals, and denounces taxation that pays for vital social programs (other than “modest” corporate tax hikes).

Andrea certainly didn’t denounce any taxation that Wynne put forward: Wynne rejected the gas tax, the HST hike, the road tolls. Andrea supports Wynne’s $600-million income tax hike on the top 2%. She adds to that: canceling $760-million in Liberal corporate tax cuts for the rich.

Announcing her decision to defeat the spring budget, which read very much like an NDP budget, Horwath wouldn’t say what she disagreed with, just that Wynne wasn’t as trustworthy as the NDP to get the job done.

Andrea certainly disagreed about corporate taxes, the minimum wage not being high enough, daycare spaces and endless hydro-rate hikes gouging low- and mid-income families.

Horwath will present herself as the most trustworthy, the populist politician with the invisible agenda — details to come.

Andrea has been talking policy for years. Her full platform is out. compare hers to Wynne’s platforms for yourself to find out who the real progressive is in this race — not the one pretending to be, to weasel an unearned majority government.

► Why Andrea Horwath’s NDP ‘Make Sense’ tour doesn’t: Cohn: May 7 The wheels aren’t quite falling off the NDP campaign bus, but Andrea Horwath won’t get a free ride anymore.

But the Liberals and Tories gained a head-start, while the New Democrats lost traction (even though the NDP had advance notice of the election, which Horwath had set in motion).

Actually Wynne had the head start. She had government resources to put together her “left-lurching” budget. She began campaigning a month before the election, with a string of spending leaks and attack ads. Her government fell because it was corruption, waste and broken promises.

Support and power are earned. Liberals are not entitled to their entitlements.

Undeterred, she pressed ahead with an astonishing promise to “lower hydro rates in the province.” Not even the anti-hydro Tories claim they can reverse those rapidly rising costs, which is why they promise only to slow the rate of growth.

Absurd nonsense. Hudak claims high hydro rates killed 300,000 jobs and his rate cuts will get back 40,000 lost jobs. The Liberals are the only ones with a cavalier attitude towards never ending rate hikes.

Let’s face the facts: over the past 11 years, the Liberals have completely botched the electricity file. They have no idea what they’re doing.

Second, a “modest” increase in corporate taxes that will save “middle class” voters from ever having to pay any taxes or tolls thanks to a new “partnership” between New Democrats and big business.

The Liberals are the ones with the partnership with big business. There top priority is wasteful corporate tax cuts they are borrowing to pay for. Andrea will reverse these tax cuts by $760-million/yr. In fact, Canada has lowest corporate tax rate among ALL major economies according to KPMG. The corporations pocket the free money. The Liberals give them more.

Wynne certainly didn’t put any tax hikes or tolls in her platform. Or is that a hidden agenda?

► Tories take a hard right turn thanks to NDP enablers: Cohn: May 12 Public servants could be run over as the Tory campaign bus gains momentum with Tim Hudak at the wheel. How did they become roadkill?

The title of this column could not be more baseless or absurd.

What to do? Who will protect them from a Hudak majority?

Liberals won’t protect us from a Hudak majority trying to fear-monger left votes for their own fake majority.

Hudak needs 40% of RIGHT-leaning voters to win a majority. None of those votes will come from the left side.

If anything, Wynne’s strategy to trying and out-left the NDP, puts the province in danger of a Hudak majority.

And how will her third-place party, holding a mere 21 seats in the 107-seat legislature, realistically win another 30-plus ridings — more than doubling its seat count — to thwart the Tories?

Realistically, election results are determined by voters — despite Liberal delusions they are entitled to power.

Horwath would have you believe she has outmanoeuvred Hudak, luring him into showing his true colours so that she can wrestle him to the mat and drive the Liberals into the ground. But there is an alternative ending to this election story that reverses their roles — and in this narrative it is Hudak who outsmarts Horwath .

This is a case of fiction being stranger than fact. Hudak was a revolutionary neo-con right from the start. He was actually forced by his caucus to abandon his right-to-work gambit.

For two years he taunted the New Democrats for propping up a tarnished Liberal minority government, and this month the taunting paid off: He finally goaded Horwath into ditching Wynne’s Liberals, possibly clearing the way for his majority.

Either that or Wynne goaded Horwath into ditching her budget with attack ads and ultimatums — not to mention cutting the NDP out of the budget process.

The unanswered question of this election may haunt Horwath until the end: Did the New Democrats go from being Liberal enablers to Tory enablers?

More weasel words. Over the past 30 years the Liberals have been actual neo-con enablers.

The neo-cons bring in reckless ’starve the beast’ tax cuts. The Liberals cement them in place. Each cycle the country gets ratcheted further and further to the right — as the economy goes down the tubes.

The NDP are not enablers of any of this. They offer the only true alternative to it!

► All three leaders appear to be in a dream world: Cohn: May 16 The emerging political platforms in the Ontario election have a fantasy quality unseen since Harry Potter enchanted children with wizardry and incantations.

She’s also repeating her discredited pledge from the 2011 campaign to take the HST off hydro bills (but only the provincial portion of 8 per cent, not the 5 per cent federal share). Not even Hudak is playing the old HST game anymore.

Discredited how? The BC Liberals did not put the HST on electricity? Why? Because the HST is a consumption tax and necessities are excluded. Not surprising Liberal elites believe electricity is a luxury item.

Horwath also wants to cut business taxes, albeit for small companies, not larger ones. This is more about politics than economics, running counter to academic research that shows such incentives reward only companies that stay small (lest they be taxed at a higher rate), discouraging them from achieving the economies of scale needed for global export markets.

The problem is that the Liberals and neo-cons have been slashing corporate taxes for so long Canada now has the lowest corporate tax rate of ALL major economies/ Of course this did nothing for the economy. All it did was fatten the stock portfolios of the well-off.

That’s why the Liberals and neo-cons didn’t care about small business taxes: it wasn’t in their self-interest to cut them. So the NDP is leveling the playing field by giving small businesses a break. They believe they are a major contributor to job creation. This will cost $290-million/yr or about one tenth of the Liberal $2.4-billion/yr in failed corporate tax cuts.

Minor tax differences will not stop a small business from growing into a corporation if it can. That’s pure nonsense.

The NDP is at its most unrestrained on restraint. Counter-intuitively, Horwath announced this week that she would save money by spending money — creating a new Ministry of Savings and Accountability to cut back the bureaucracy. That role is normally played by the finance minister, who has the clout to play Doctor No with his free-spending cabinet colleagues. The NDP wants to re-imagine the process.

Given all the waste the Liberals produced with this process, clearly it needs to be reimagined… Better to prevent waste than read about it in an Auditor-General’s report…

► How Andrea Horwath’s NDP lost its moral compass: Cohn: May 23 Behold the NDP’s populist platform. Under Andrea Horwath, the party is no longer activist but obstructionist. Not progressive but reactionary.

Andrea Horwath, meet Stephen Harper — your new best friend and fellow traveller. Until this week, the prime minister loomed as the biggest roadblock to improving our outdated Canada Pension Plan and fending off a retirement income crisis. Now, Harper has found a new comrade-in-arms in his crusade to delay pension reform:
As leader of Ontario’s NDP, Horwath has made a stunning about-face on pensions — betraying the middle class, working class, and everyone in between.

What ridiculous rhetoric. What next? Andrea worships Hitler?

First off, Andrea is not opposed to pension reform. She believes, like all other provinces, it’s best to wait until the 2015 federal election before proceeding.

Second, Wynne’s half-baked pension plan is regressive. According to Maclean’s, it’s great for high-income but terrible for low-income. It will force low-income to pay for benefits they will not receive. For every $2 they pay in, they will only get back $1.

Like the federal Liberal EI reforms, this is just another Liberal elitist scam: forcing low income earners to pay for the benefits of the well-off.

Her latest platform merely apes Hudak’s anti-tax Tory ideology by promising to take the HST off hydro bills (in fact, federal rules prevent any unilateral changes to the harmonized sales tax).

Hudak plans to dole out $3.5-billion a year to the rich in corporate tax cuts. If anything, Andrea is aping the BC Liberals who excluded electricity from the HST. Fact is low-income earners get hit the hardest by skyrocketing electricity rates.

And she has embraced Rob Ford’s anti-gravy train mythology by proposing a new “minister of savings and accountability” (with no extra staff) to produce savings of $600 million a year.

All nonsense aside, the Liberals propose cutting $1.25-billion a year a year in bureaucratic waste. Wynne must really luv embracing RoFo!

► Warm-up Ontario election debate previews NDP’s attack strategy: Cohn: May 26 Andrea Horwath’s volleys at Kathleen Wynne over the Liberal gas plant scandal didn’t resonate much with northern Ontario listeners, but they were aimed at a much broader audience.

Here up north, there weren’t any questions from the floor about gas plants. That didn’t stop Horwath from trying to transform an infamous footnote to the 2011 campaign into the main event of the 2014 election.

Was the $250-million Ad Scam scandal a “footnote” of the 1995 referendum? How on Earth is abusing $1.1-billlion in a corrupt attempt to buy a majority government a “footnote.” Don’t be absurd.

As a headline-grabbing strategy, it certainly put Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne on the defensive. As a warm-up for the main June 3 televised debate, it was a revealing preview of Horwath on the attack — refusing to look at her opponent throughout the 60-minute debate, staring unsmilingly at the audience whenever Wynne spoke.

This "unbiased" characterization is belied by a common picture of the debate that shows Andrea looking at her opponent.

For most of the northerners in the room, Horwath’s detour down south failed to resonate. She performed like an opposition leader who heads Ontario’s third party, not a premier-in-waiting with a distinctive, progressive vision of her own for the province.

That’s the Liberal war room version. Here’s a critique with no apparent axe to grind.

Horwath was equally unpersuasive when she professed fealty to balanced budgets, saying: “That is the history of my political party, frankly,” she offered, seemingly forgetting the 1990-95 NDP era.

According to the CCPA, the NDP has the best fiscal record of all parties.

► How Kathleen Wynne righted Liberal wrongs by lurching left: Cohn: May 28 Expect pain no matter who wins power. Pick your poison — progressive with Wynne, populist with Horwath, or perilous with Hudak.

The answer is that after barely a year as premier, she had the good sense to right Liberal wrongs by taking a deft left turn on the campaign trail. In her wake, New Democrats are going in policy circles….

Andrea offers low- and mid-income Ontarians real relief from 11 years of Liberal gouging: service cuts, user fees, eco fees, regressive taxes and endless hydro hikes. That is not going in circles: it’s going right to the heart of the matter.

The problem with Wynne’s sudden left turn is that not only is it out of character for the red-Tory Liberals Ontarians have grown weary of, it’s likely nothing more than a campaign strategy like McGuinty used in 2011: campaign left, govern right.

A fake left turn may be deft in weaseling votes, but it sure doesn’t right Liberal wrongs.

Just as Hudak’s math doesn’t add up, and Horwath’s contortions don’t make sense, Wynne’s numbers likely won’t hold up after the ballots are counted.

Talk about contortions: from Wynne somehow righting Liberal wrongs lurching left to make empty promises she’ll abandon soon as the votes are counted!

Andrea expanding the NDP tent to include centrist voters disillusioned with red-Tory Liberals, however, makes a lot of sense.

There will be pain no matter who wins power. Pick your poison — progressive with Wynne, populist with Horwath, or perilous with Hudak.

Both the Liberals and PCs have proven they believe in “pain” for the little people and big, expensive corporate tax cuts for the wealthy. Thankfully Andrea makes people her priority.

► How Andrea Horwath’s NDP tried to leapfrog the Liberals: Cohn Why has Andrea Horwath recast herself as a tax fighter, crime fighter and pension postponer? Is it NDP oppositionism, opportunism, or both?

Strangely, there’s no mention of a pension plan in her campaign game plan. Horwath now opposes the public pension contained in the spring budget (the one she summarily rejected, triggering the June 12 election).

Wynne’s half-baked pension plan is regressive according to Maclean’s. It’s good for high-income. Bad for low-income: will make them pay $2 for every $1 they receive.

The same obstructionist pattern is evident on other social justice issues. When anti-poverty activists campaigned for a $14 minimum wage last year, Horwath ignored their calls for support — lest she antagonize small business. Not until the Liberals raised the rate from $10.25 to $11 an hour did Horwath belatedly go through the motions of demanding a hike to $12 — after the fact.

So Andrea is wrong for not supporting a too-high rate of $14/hr and also wrong for not supporting a too-low rate of $11/hr. I think we can call this an bullshit pattern.

Why has Horwath recast herself as a tax fighter, crime fighter and pension postponer? Is it reflexive oppositionism or merely opportunism?

Tax fighter? I think that title clearly goes to Wynne who borrows $2.4-billion a year for corporate tax cuts that do nothing for the economy while Canada has the lowest corporate tax rate among ALL major economies.

Crime fighter? I think abusing $1.1-billion of taxpayer dollars in a shallow attempt to buy a majority government should be a crime punishable by time. Unfortunately, it is not.

Pension postponer? Wynne’s half-baked regressive pension most certainly deserved to be postponed.

Horwath is rethinking her positions in order to thwart the vision laid out in Kathleen Wynne’s latest budget — sacrificing pension reform, higher wages for the working poor, welfare hikes and a transit plan.

Rejecting Wynnes regressive pension plan, waiting until 2015 to proceed, like the other provinces. Offering higher wages for the poor. Indexing welfare and disability rates to inflation — Wynne’s fake hike was lower than the inflation rate. Supporting $29-billion transit plan recommended by the Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel &mdah; not the Liberal party!

Can the NDP’s electoral contortions win the progressive vote and woo Progressive Conservative voters?

All rhetocial contortions aside, Andrea, like Jack Latyon, is expanding the NDP tent to include centrist voters red-Tory Liberals have abandoned. Her platform is left of Wynne’s. And, unlike Wynne, she is not campaigning left to govern right with a hidden agenda of “pain.”