Liberal insiders tell me they intend to steal from Harper’s playbook. They will present themselves as a mature government that has steered the provincial ship through choppy economic waters — and come out the other end in better shape than other jurisdictions.
So there you have it. Everything we've seen from Dalton over the past few months has been a deliberate, if third-rate, attempt to copy Harper, and we won't see much of a change as we get closer to election day.
I'm sure that when you look at this from the Liberal perspective, it makes perfect sense. You sign a secretive deal costing I-don't-know-how-much to produce I-don't-know-what-kind-of-benefits to I-don't-know-who, and when the Opposition complains and says they'll get rid of it, you accuse them of trying to sabotage the economic recovery. I mean, as far as the Liberals are concerned, that's what was done in the federal election, and it worked out great for the guys running the government, right?
"Tim Hudak will enter into a coalition with separatists and socialists! Um, wait..."The trouble is that the deal in question federally had to do with stuff people could relate to. Our fleet of jets are old and we need new ones. Crime is a problem and criminals need to be put in jail. Simple enough.
McGuinty's deal has to do with the nebulous concept of "green jobs" that I don't think anyone has been able to successfully explain, and it was done with a Korean superconglomerate whose approach to doing business makes them look like the bad guys in a James Bond movie.
Furthermore, it's an energy deal, a file on which McGuinty has repeatedly crapped the bed. Harper was, and is, trusted on defence and on crime. McGuinty is not trusted on energy. He's not trusted on the economy, either. So when Tim puts this deal to bed, I don't think anyone will miss it. And when McGuinty tries to make himself out to be an economic leader when every other province in Canada is ahead of us, it'll make for a great joke but it won't do much for his government's prospects.
And that brings me to the other half of this alleged strategy: the attempt to "define" Tim Hudak the way Ignatieff was "defined." We had a ridiculous campaign that lasted for months (and got annoying very quickly, in the same way that this is annoying) where Liberals on Twitter and elsewhere tried to assert that the PC's had "no plan." It should be remembered that the federal Liberals tried the same thing, and, well, look what happened to them. Anyway, The Plan exists and it will be rolled out at the end of the month, so goodbye to that nonsense.
So now Liberal friendly journalists, including the 0-for-2 Toronto Star, are conceding that yes, Hudak does have a plan, but, well, they don`t like it very much. This is part of the Liberal strategy to- unbelievably- make Hudak look like Ignatieff, who railed against Harper but couldn`t touch him.
The fact is though- as everyone but the Liberals realize- Hudak is not Ignatieff. Hudak has held public office here. He didn`t spend most of his career in another country. He doesn`t have to painstakingly learn how to communicate with regular people. But most importantly, Tim Hudak is a regular guy who likes to play basketball, grill ribs, and walk his dog. He`s not trying to be flashy or smarter than you, or turn the province into a playground for foreign multinational electronics empires.
When the Liberals look at Tim Hudak and see a quiet, normal guy, they feel the need to attack him for being that way. So what credibility do they have when they claim to stand up for the interests of the rest of us?