I asked a Liberal friend of mine once, "You know, there's all this talk about how McGuinty is unpopular. Liberal MPP's are organizing leadership bids. Why aren't the Liberal rank and file angrier at McGuinty is dragging them down?"
She said, "The rank and file are mostly happy with McGuinty. Social progress is most important to them."
Those words came back to me when I read through the Liberal platform for the first time.
This is a document written by people who are supremely satisfied with their record in government. By people who see positively no need for change in Ontario. When they look at the crumbling economy, the young people who've sunk thousands into degrees that do not guarantee them a job, the hospitals that never get built and when they are built struggle under the weight of the patient burden, the neglected seniors, the schools in rural areas who can't find enough students, the families sinking deeper and deeper into debt, the riots in Caledonia, the manufacturing jobs that will never come back, the green jobs that will never get here, the crowded roads, the unions that strike whenever they feel like it knowing Dalton will pay whatever he can to make it all better because he needs them more than they need him, the rampant waste, the constant barrage of hidden taxes and fees....they say, "Pretty good, but there's more to be done."
What sustains the Liberal delusion that Ontario is actually getting better, and that if we do exactly what we've been doing, things will keep on getting better?
With a deep and abiding clarity, I see now. Dalton McGuinty does what he does because he believes, with white-hot intensity, that social progress trumps every single one of our concerns about how our province is being run. He, and the Liberal Party he leads, are more than just "out of touch". They're not seeing what we see. All they see is social progress. They don't understand us. We don't understand them. We and they are worlds apart, more so than I ever thought.
Pretty funny how the answer was in front of me this whole time, isn't it?
The suffering that has been wrought upon Ontario is, in their minds, a fair....maybe even generous.....price to bring about social progress. That's why there is nothing, positively zippity-doo-dah, in this platform about how we're going to get out of the deficit situation we're in.
And when the Liberal war room screams out their distortions and smears, they do it because the end -social progress- justifies the means.
And whenever we challenge the notion that social progress justifies all this pain, the Liberals will always invent a counterargument, or, failing that, just go with "I'm no fan of Dalton, but Hudak will destroy Ontario!" Because no matter how petty or corrupt or high-handed Dalton or the Liberals are, what really matters to them is social progress. And we must sacrifice more and more to the Liberal god of social progress, at the urging of its anointed High Priest Dalton McGuinty.
Well, guess what. We have a chance to show the Liberals that social progress is not as important as whether the province can actually function. It's kind of like how you take care of your own house before you try to fix someone else's.
Oh, and don't think I'm not grateful to the Liberals for finally giving us a reason to "differentiate" ourselves from McGuinty, as if plenty didn't exist already. If it wasn't the giving of a tax advantage to people who hire immigrants over Ontarians who are out of a job, it's the return of everyone's favourite disgraced and defeated Liberal, George Smitherman, to the Liberal fold in that conference call I wrote about yesterday.
P.S. Oh, and for the Liberals who read this blog? That tax credit is what I'd call a "divisive" policy. You know what happens to "divisive" policies during Ontario elections, don't you?
P.P.S. Oh, and just what the hell were the Liberals thinking when they launched their platform across the way from the Layton tribute wall???
P.P.P.S. And, of course they would slap unemployed Ontarians in the face on LABOUR DAY. These idiots couldn't be trusted with a pineapple.