Sometimes you win by losing.
And I think Progressive Conservative party leader Tim Hudak won by losing the last provincial election, but not losing by enough to give Premier McGuinty’s Liberals a majority.
If you don’t believe me, look at all the labour disputes that the McGuinty government has become embroiled in since then: first by effectively banning public teachers’ strikes and now with the public sector wage freeze. With Ontario’s deficit of $13.3 billion (for comparison, the next highest provincial deficit is Quebec’s, at $3 billion), something had to be done, by somebody; it was inevitable. But don’t think that the teachers and the civil servants won’t be remembering this during the next provincial election campaign.
Alternately, if Tim Hudak’s conservatives had won, they would also have had to clean house, and in short order. As a result, once again the Conservatives would have assumed the role of the skinflint, buzz-kills in contrast to the ‘good-times’ Liberals. Buzz-kill vs. good times: how many Ontario voters would prefer the latter to the former?
But it was not to be. Now McGuinty has to stew in problems of his own making. As the Rev. Jeremiah Wright once said, “the chickens are coming home to roost.” And make no mistake about it, going after the teachers and the civil servants will hurt McGuinty a lot more electorally than it would ever have hurt the Conservatives. The teachers were McGuinty’s shock troops when he first defeated the Ernie Eves’ Conservatives back in 2003. Now he’s stabbed them in the back.
If McGuinty loses the next provincial election to Tim Hudak, he will have lost because he will have done Hudak’s heavy lifting for him. And since Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives have a reputation for thrift (a holdover from the Mike Harris days) and the Liberals have a reputation for out-of-control spending (a holdover from the Dalton McGuinty present), Hudak will be credited for the savings resulting from all the tough decisions McGuinty has been forced by circumstances to make.
Life isn’t fair. That’s why when it is unfair in your direction, you got to make the most of it.