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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Premier Dalton McGuinty gives business audience election flavoured speech

Premier Dalton McGuinty gives business audience election flavoured speech

Posted on Wed, Jan 12, 2011, 5:27 pm by Maria Babbage KITCHENER, Ont. – Premier Dalton McGuinty is giving voters a taste of what’s to come in the lead-up to the October election.

Looking much like Al Gore in “An Inconvenient Truth,” McGuinty stood in front of a giant screen Wednesday to make an elaborate, campaign-style pitch to a Kitchener business crowd.

But unlike the former U.S. vice-president, the premier used his slide show to paint a rosy picture of Ontario’s future under Liberal rule as photos and graphics flashed up on the screen behind him, including a picture of the youthful, long-haired McGuinty boating on Lac St. Pierre in 1973.

“It was a constant battle with my parents though, I can tell you that much,” he said later of his long hair.
McGuinty touted his government’s policies — from full-day kindergarten to green energy _during the 28-minute speech, as well as plans to develop clean-water technology and the Ring of Fire chromite deposit in the north.

Politics professor David Docherty, who saw the speech, said it looked like a dry run for an election platform.
“My sense is that they’re test-driving a whole bunch of platforms to pick or choose one or two that they’re going to hammer home come election time,” said Docherty, dean of arts at Wilfrid Laurier University in nearby Waterloo.

“Clearly it’s a pre-election speech …. But my sense is that they’re really trying to cover as much as possible, see which ones are selling and which ones are getting good feedback on, and maybe they’re going to try to build their platform around that perhaps.”

McGuinty also took a moment to emphasize the lack of labour unrest since his party took over in 2003 — a thinly veiled shot at the Opposition Conservatives, whose cost-cutting policies sparked strikes in the 1990s.
With only nine months to go until the election, Tory Leader Tim Hudak has ramped up his campaign to unseat the Liberals, holding almost daily news conferences at the legislature that often take a jab at the rapid growth in government spending.

The Liberals have retaliated by raising the spectre of service cuts and widespread strikes under a slash-and-burn Hudak government.

“I don’t believe you can cut your way to strength,” McGuinty told the crowd.
“I believe that you get stronger by building. You get stronger by making sure Ontarians have what they need to succeed.”

But when it came to Liberal unrest over the unpopular harmonized sales tax, the premier clammed up.
Niagara-area backbencher Kim Craitor is the first Liberal to publicly criticize the tax, saying recently that he opposes the HST on hydro bills.

McGuinty skirted questions about whether Craitor would be disciplined for refusing to toe the party line.
“I believe we’re strong, we’re united, we’re tight when it comes to moving forward on difficult initiatives,” he said.

There could be other Liberals who break ranks on the HST before the election, Docherty said.
“It’s clearly the one thing in his closet that’s really got them concerned,” he said.

The Liberals feel “pretty comfortable” with their track record on many issues, such as education and the economy, even in spite of a record deficit, he said. But McGuinty “skated around” the HST in his speech.
“I mean, if there was one area he did not cover, it was the HST. Or he just kind of gave it the perfunctory response, and that was it,” he said.

“So I think that’s the one that has them worried.”

1 comment:

  1. Good news! More fuel for the (Ring of) Fire. Keep talking, Dalton!

    He sounds like he really thinks he has money to spend. What an illusion! Too bad Ontario can't print its own money.

    Orange Flash