So far Kathleen Wynne has staved off a hydro rate revolt by mortgaging future generations, she has bought off the public service unions and teachers with deals that will extend well beyond the next election, she has raised the minimum wage and revamped labour laws and introduced universal pharma care. She went to London to promise high speed rail that nobody in particular was asking for. Parents worried about their kids’ school closing won’t have to worry until after the election. Lest they be left out, business owners have been promised less red tape. So nearly everyone has now received some sort of pre-election goodie; and yet the Liberals are sitting at about 23 percent in the polls and Kathleen Wynne personally is at 13 percent approval. To use a hockey term, her plus-minus is minus 59. Adding to the misery, party stalwarts say the Ontario Liberals are having trouble with fundraising. The cheques aren’t in the mail. Kathleen Wynne was forced to ban the use of Cabinet Ministers as cheque magnets following embarrassing stories in the Toronto Star, and the move seems to have hurt Liberals more than the other parties. On the other hand, the Conservatives have suffered from Charlie-Brown-itis in their last two elections—John Tory promising extra money for ethnic schools in a post-911 world, and Tim Hudak with his promise to lay off 100,000 civil servants and yet create a million new jobs. Brown is also dogged by court challenges to some of the party’s recent nominations—a sign that the party is still riven with factions. Although Andrea Horwath is the most popular of the three main party leaders the party itself is not moving up in the polls. The NDP has been stuck in 20 percent territory for a long time. For Wynne’s part she has done just about everything she can do to improve the mood of the electorate with her announcement spree. She has less than a year to see if all the promises and spending gain any traction. So far not much.
Leave a Reply