Try as I might I cannot understand the line of thinking suggesting that since we are in difficult times economically, we need to avoid difficult policies that might be "divisive" and cause "social unrest".
Does the average voter assume that we can put off the hard solutions forever? Do they think we can just wait this out? Is the social unrest happening elsewhere in the world something that can't happen here?
Kathleen Wynne thinks so. She thinks she can build bridges and work across aisles, have conversations and consultations, and move forward. But her efforts have fallen somewhat short. The unions, ever hungry for more privilege, continue to press her sorely. Municipalities are mad about wind turbines, parents are upset about tragedy-stricken daycares, and full-day kindergarten is an expensive nightmare. Things don't look like they are going to get better for Kathleen Wynne despite what may or may not be sincere attempts to fight off social unrest.
Furthermore, the voters have been chipping away at the Ontario Liberals for years. They have lost ground with each subsequent election and round of byelections ever since 2007. They lost their majority in 2011, couldn't regain it in 2012, and with the losses of Etobicoke Lakeshore, Windsor Tecumseh and London West, let it slip even farther away. A good portion of Dalton's team has moved on, Don Guy is off doing his thing elsewhere, and OLP standouts (I can't believe I just wrote that) like Bentley, Duncan, Pupatello, and Sorbara have bowed out. The OLP can still fend off a challenge but less and less people are parking their votes with them. Because the Liberals did so much to infuriate the unions and everyone else during the 2012 political season, their claim to be the protectors of public peace is even more shaky.
As we have seen, the NDP wants to put in divisive policies of their own. As a given, as per their own rhetoric, they want the rich to suffer. They make up all kinds of reasons as to why it's a good thing for the rich to suffer, but if you don't want a government that will set one group of people against another, you can't expect that from the NDP. The last time we had an NDP government in Ontario there was actually more social unrest than there had been in a long while.
What if the PC Party of Ontario tried sincerely to rid themselves of policies that were hard to swallow? Nobody remembers anything about John Tory's platform from the 2007 election except faith based schools, and that's because there was nothing of note and nothing all that offensive or divisive except for faith based schools. We had pages and pages of bland, inoffensive policies and one divisive policy, and that was too much for people. So that doesn't work either.
Then we have the argument that Hudak, being too snarly and negative for some, needs to put forward a "positive economic vision" for Ontario. But why should he do that when journalists are engaging in brain-twisting analysis of why Hudak comes across as "inauthentic"? Disingenuity comes more naturally to Kathleen Wynne, it would seem.
So none of the options before the people of Ontario will keep the rising levels of social unrest at bay. Divisive policies of one type or another will become the order of the day if this trend continues. The strands are fraying. Nobody can claim, least of all after the byelections earlier this month, that Ontario is becoming a happier, more chilled out place where people don't have to work harder and harder to keep themselves from seeing the truth.