Twelve per cent. An even dozen. Again she stands at political death’s door. The Premier of Canada’s largest province resoundingly rejected by Ontario’s voters.
Angus Reid polling information might ordinarily suggest Kathleen Wynne will perform a dead duck impression, treading water until the Liberal Party decides the free-falling Premier will do nicely as a sacrificial offering to the good burghers of the province.
The death knell for Wynne’s occupancy of the Premier’s Office is her atrociously expensive decision to sell Hydro One shares. You know what resulted. Utter chaos as electricity prices increased so punitively, particularly, but not exclusively among rural folks, that many thousands found themselves challenged to pay mortgage or rent, buy food and clothing and keep their homes lit and warm. Something had to give and when the electricity bill was the one left unpaid, power was cut. No light. No heat. Flood in the basement and no sump pump working? Well, too bad.
Meanwhile Kathleen Wynne’s focus was elsewhere. The provincial cap and trade scheme with partners Quebec and California was projected (still is) to help save the planet from global warming and pave the path toward a green economy and hundreds of thousands of exciting new jobs (or so suggested a pamphlet). Dare to question the Premier and she wagged an accusatory finger while nattering about Ontarians being “really bad actors” as far as greenhouse gas creation is concerned.
Premier Wynne did not restrict her attacks to AGW. When a newly elected Justin Trudeau federal Liberal government decided in late 2015 to bring up to 50,000 Syrian refugees into Canada by the end of 2016, many nationally questioned how effective security screening of would-be refugees might be. Premier Wynne, attending an Ottawa conference in the company of Quebec Premier Phillipe Couillard played the race card, accusing Canadians for whom vetting Syrians security was not a fait accompli of having racial motivation.
The baggage Wynne may be carrying when the writ is dropped in Ontario would appear insurmountable. How can any politician overcome a 12% and sliding voter support number? Under usual circumstance the answer would be it can’t be done.
However, similar professional eulogies were issued heading into the last provincial vote and not only did Wynne score a victory, but she so battered the PCs and the New Democrats the Liberals emerged with a majority government.
Might this particular brand of election-lightning strike again?
Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party leader Patrick Brown has been almost invisible and NDP leader Andrea Horwath is performing a credible impression of Mr. Brown.
Premier Wynne is managing to determine the direction of debate in the province. She lowered hydro bills by re-amortizing and adding hugely to Ontario’s debts, but where were Brown and Horwath to challenge and take advantage of the fact more than 90% of provincial voters have a negative impression of Wynne.
The Liberals should at this moment be casting about for a new leader. Instead, they have the luxury of some time to watch Brown and Horwath and decide whether Kathleen Wynne may have just enough capital to again push aside what appears to be non-dynamic opposition.