Once upon a time, in a province called Ontario, a man named Dalton McGuinty wanted to become premier so badly that he made many promises. He said he would not raise taxes. He promised to close the dirty coal-burning plants. He would help autistic children, relieve gridlock problems and help immigrants have their qualifications recognized in Canada.
Here is the A to Z story of what happened when this man gained power.
A is for the autistic children.
Once elected McGuinty failed to provide the funding he had promised during his election campaign. If that wasn't enough, he then fought the parents in court. Twice. One member of parliament tried to find out how much public money was spent on the court case, but the Attorney General refused to say. He used public funds, but then said the public did not have the right to know how much the legal action cost.
B is for broken promises.
Fifty to be precise. Once in power McGuinty abandoned his list of promises, passing the blame off on the previous government. But there was a problem with his claim, because when he found a large surplus just before the next election he didn't use it to make good on any of his previous promises. No. McGuinty used the money to try to buy votes with new promises.
C is for the dirty coal plants that are still open.
McGuinty promised he would close coal-fired electricity plants by 2007. They are still burning, still polluting, while McGuinty pounds the campaign trail.
D is for the dogs that have been killed or sent to animal research.
The Attorney General said he would listen to the experts, but when every expert at the public hearings opposed the ban the Liberals pushed the law through. McGuinty and his party knew that passing the ban was going to hurt responsible dog owners and that it would result in the needless deaths of thousands of animals. They passed the law anyway.
E is for egotistical.
McGuinty broke promises, but expects voters to simply forgive him. He acts like the cat that's caught the canary, pleased with himself for getting away with his unacceptable behaviour.
F is for fear mongering.
How do you distract the public away from your long list of broken promises? Why not say you are going to ban things. Ban sushi, t-shirts, smoking in designated smoking rooms, dogs … the list goes on. Then if people are busy being afraid, maybe they won't notice what a bad job you're doing of governing.
G is for giving grants with no openness or accountability.
Under McGuinty's leadership the Liberals were sharply criticized by Ontario's Auditor General for the way they doled out over $32 million dollars in grants to multicultural organizations. The catch was that you had to know someone to get a chance to get funded, which left many organizations in the dark. The Ontario Cricket Association did well, however. They asked the province for $150,000 and got a clean $1 million dollar – 666% more than they'd asked for. So the OCA has $500,000 left over in an interest-earning GIC.
H is for the health tax hike.
McGuinty promised not to raise taxes, but almost as soon as he was elected he introduced a $2.8 billion dollar tax hike. When McGuinty found a $2.3 billion dollar surplus did he do the right thing and eliminate or at least start to phase out the hated tax? No. It was election time again, so he gave away our tax dollars in the hope that he would be re-elected.
I is for the immigrants who were betrayed.
McGuinty promised he would eliminate barriers to foreign trade professionals within one year. He also committed to see that qualified immigrants would be accepted by trades and professions within one year. These are just two more broken promises, with qualified immigrants left in low-paying jobs.
J is for the lack of justice in our province.
McGuinty's Attorney General appeared on television when a newspaper boy was bitten by an alleged “pit bull” and needed a few stitches. Yet when a young woman was gunned down, murdered, while shopping on Boxing Day where was the outrage or even just a public appearance from the same Attorney General? The McGuinty Liberals made one thing clear. Public safety was very important to them if it centred around an issue that makes people mad, like letting Karla Homolka free or banning dogs that have a bad rep. Too bad about all those other people who needed their attention, like the citizens who have been shot, stabbed or swarmed.
K is for not keeping his word.
McGuinty must have missed the lessons on honest, integrity and keeping your promises that most of us learned in Kindergarten.
L is for the lack of consultation.
Instead of working with concerned interest groups, McGuinty's government shut them out and simply pushed through legislation. It was his-way or the highway.
M is for the multicultural grants given to groups with strong Liberal ties.
One organization in Richmond Hill was too new to qualify for a grant under normal programs. There is no written record of a grant application, but somehow they got $200,000 to build a community centre. Since they don't have land yet that money now sits in the group's bank account. After getting the grant two board members moved on in their career. One became the local Liberal candidate while the other became the president of the local Liberal riding association.
N is for the 8,000 nurses McGuinty failed to hire, despite his election promise.
Just one more way that McGuinty has let our healthcare system down.
O is for Ontario, which has suffered under McGuinty's rule.
Once the most prosperous province in Canada, last year Ontario ranked 10th out of 10 for its economic growth and our unemployment rate has moved consistently above the national average.
P is for protecting the innocent.
The powers of the justice system have failed to work on one of the most important issues facing our province, the murder of our children on the streets and even in their schools. This issue didn't play well in sound bites, so while the media covered it extensively, action from the McGuinty Liberals was virtually non-existent.
Q is for the questions that were pushed aside during the 2007 election campaign.
Like a skilled politician, McGuinty put his career ahead of the issues during the 2007 election campaign. He used the issue of faith based funding to pre-empt important discussions about healthcare, taxes, education, poverty and the environment. For the record McGuinty is totally opposed to faith based funding, which he sees as divisive. Incidentally, McGuinty's children go to a Catholic school, Ontario's only publicly funded faith based school.
R is for not reducing auto insurance as promised.
McGuinty said he would reduce auto rates by 10% within 90 days of elected. Did he? Of course not. Chalk it up to yet one more broken promise.
S is for not spending every penny of the new health tax on healthcare.
McGuinty said that he would spend every penny of the new health tax on healthcare. What really happened is that health care dollars went into general revenues and McGuinty went on to cut healthcare services, starting with eye exams, chiropractic treatment and physiotherapy.
T is for the tolls on the 407 highway.
During the election McGuinty promised to roll back tolls on the 407 highway. This, of course, did not happen.
U is for failing to unclog emergency rooms.
McGuinty promised that he would unclog emergency rooms. He failed to deliver and people like Patricia Vepari have died as a result. In February 2005 the 21-year-old engineering student in Kitchener-Waterloo decided to go home after waiting in an emergency room for 8 hours. She then died at home of her infection.
V is for the victims of crime.
McGuinty said he would provide legal rights for the victims of crime, but his Attorney General was too busy banning sushi, t-shirts and dogs to pay attention to those truly in need. So another promise bit the dust.
W is for the whipped votes, another broken election promise.
McGuinty said he would allow non-cabinet MPPs to criticize and vote against government legislation. As it turns out there was too much to criticize, so votes were whipped and McGuinty broke yet another promise.
X is for excruciating.
Which is exactly what another four years of the McGuinty Liberals would be like.
Y is for “yesterday's man”.
The people of Ontario bought McGuinty's song and dance once. With the issue of faith-based schools now open to a free vote, McGuinty should be none other than yesterday's man in the October 10th election.
Z is for zero.
That's exactly how many more chances McGuinty and his Liberals should get when voters go to the poll on October 10, 2007.
Courtesy of Julie King