Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dirty Laundry

It's getting to the point where every time Dalton screws up, I have a hard time choosing from the hurricane of puns that spring to mind when sketching out these little blogposts of mine.

"Dalton's laundry comments don't wash," perhaps? How about, "That's another stain on Dalton's record"? Or maybe the slightly more risque, "Dalton is desperately trying to change the sheets after sh*tting the bed on Friday?"

Extra strength bleach won't clean up  the mess this move will cause in heavily Jewish Thornhill, as Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath and Dalton seems to feel that Saturday is laundry day.

But there's a bigger story here, and that's Dalton's muddying of the waters surrounding whether he will or won't rule out an increase in hydro rates. The news that 76% of Ontario voters saying they're sick of the mess Liberals have made in Ontario means that Dalton's underwear must be turning a distinct shade of yellow, and since Dalton's squeaky-clean image has taken such a beating over the last little while, he can't afford to take a firm stance on an issue which would have at one time been a clean sweep.

How much deeper will Dalton sink into the muck before Tim Hudak brushes him off like dirt off his shoulder?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bland Works

There's a certain breed of Westerner who, going against the grain as Westerners do, comes to our great province looking for a political challenge. Cowboy hat firmly in place, they talk about bringing Western campaign smarts to the table.

I ran into one of these gunslingers at a conference in Markham the PC Party held this weekend. He talked about campaigning all over the Prairies with no small amount of success, stirring up cattle stampedes wherever he tied his horse.

I informed the new sheriff in town that here in Ontario, the big reason why we don't have HST uprisings like they do in B.C. is because, as William Grenville Davis once put it, "Bland Works".

And that's when it hit me. Dalton's lack of success lately has a lot to do with forgetting that very simple truth, as this Sun article makes plain. The Premier is stirring the pot needlessly with issues like mixed-martial arts, Internet gambling, the eco-fee screwup, and trying to embarass the Ombudsman. It isn't so much what Dalton's doing. It's the needlessly divisive way he's doing it. (Ooooh, getting to call a Liberal "needlessly divisive". Feels good. :P)

A good joke, much like good governance, is all in the delivery.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Operator? Operator?

I've heard of bad cellphone reception before, but this is ridiculous.

Cellphones in classrooms? Sure, why not. We can't have teenagers drink a beer and drive, but we can certainly have them using cellphones in class, when they're trying to learn. I guess what matters for the education Premier is that we have warm bodies in classrooms, not that any actual learning takes place. After all, this is the guy who talks about the fact that teachers aren't striking as if it's an achievement worthy of praise.

Would someone please explain how it is that junk food should be banned in Ontario schools, but cell phones shouldn't? Is Dalton deciding what to ban based on throwing darts at a dartboard?

Oh, but it gets better. Dalton won't allow his cabinet ministers to use Blackberrys during cabinet meetings. Actually, that might be a good idea, as a text convo between Liberal cabinet ministers might look something like this:

DocNiceHair: I'm a cabinet minister, LOL
DivaPupatello: OMG stop txting me, n00b!
DocNiceHair: LOL, ur hot
DocNiceHair: I'm a dr. so I'm good with my hands if u kno wat I mean, LOL ;)
$$$ FinMinBalla $$$: Yo step off lamer, Windsor crew 4 lyfe
DivaPupatello: Thx DD :)
DocNiceHair: :*(
GoldToiletGuy: Ya, I rep Windsor too :P
$$$ FinMinBalla $$$: WTF ur from Winnipeg
GoldToiletGuy: Close enough
GoldToiletGuy: Out in the peg we aspire to be doing as well as u guys are doing in Windsor ;)
LaDemoiselle: Je suis le seule francophone dans cette Cabinet. Tabarnac! :@
ScarlemWorld: I can haz portfolio plz?
JonBairdHata#1: Ottawa light rail 2 nowhere FTW! :D
SmoothLawyer: Uggh, I am way too intelligent for this....I hear the London West PC nomination is open....

Yeah, a ban might not have been such a bad idea for Dalton's cabinet.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Little Wooden Boy

When you're a clown like me, you see the same things everyone else sees, but you see them a little differently.

All you have to do is communicate your observations to the people around you, and they laugh.

They laugh because they now see what you saw. Maybe they noticed it before, but now you have thrown light on the subject.  Now everyone can see what was previously hidden.

For example, pretty much everyone and their brother has compared Dalton to Pinocchio. The comparison itself is pretty well known by now, and it's a pretty fitting description. He looks like Pinocchio. He lies like Pinocchio. He has that wooden awkwardness in front of the camera that he's never been able to shake, just like a certain little wooden boy. But I think the Pinocchio analogy works for a different reason, and it becomes clear if you ask one question:

Who is this guy who we call our Premier?

When people try to describe Dalton the person, I usually hear descriptions of *what* he is. He's the son of a prominent politician. His brother is a popular MP. He's the Premier. He's from Ottawa. He's married with four kids. He flip flopped on this or that promise.

None of that tells us anything about Dalton the person.

Is he a particularly good debater?

Is he a red or blue Liberal?

Who are his political heroes?

What was his relationship with his dad like?

Does he like to play any sports?

Most people couldn't tell you the answers to these questions, including most well connected political people. We act like Harper is a real mystery, but at least we know he can play the piano.

The Premier is a complete cipher. If Dalton was turned off and put in a closet at the end of the day like an appliance, we'd never know. It'd probably even fit well with what we know about him.

We try to characterize him as Premier Dad, who's always sternly telling us what to do and never letting us think for ourselves, and then we turn around and try to characterize him as a weak flip flopper who can't keep a promise to save his life. So which is he? No Dad worth his salt would be flip flopping all the time.

When I look at Dalton, I see a man who is so utterly dominated by stronger people around him that his personality is completely subsumed by them. I see a puppet on strings.

Michael Bryant was an up and coming star in Dalton's cabinet. Then suddenly he got handed the tricky Indian Affairs file and was gone soon after. Why? Because, they all said, he was overshadowing the Premier.

George Smitherman was Dalton's attack dog and Deputy Premier. You tangled with Furious George at your peril. Then, he quit to try and become Mayor of Toronto. And again, everyone said it was because Furious George was becoming the 800-pound gorrila (guerilla?) in the room and that his eHealth antics were becoming unhealthy to Dalton's reputation.

Greg Sorbara was one of Dalton's top consiglieres. He beat the rap after being investigated by the RCMP for shady dealings. Then, suddenly, after the 2007 election, he was gone. This was an election in which he had a major role. Why quit so soon afterwards? Did he not get the credit he felt was due? Or was there no more glory to be had as Dalton's right hand man? Remember, this is a man who wanted to be leader of the Ontario Liberals, but lost to Lyn McLeod. And you never stop wanting to be leader....unless you don't think it's possible....or unless people won't let you steal the Premier's limelight.

What these examples show is that it's pretty easy to completely eclipse the guy who's supposed to be the captain of the S.S. Ontario Liberals. Nervous advisers, and not-so-nervous ones, will do quite a lot to keep some overzealous lieutenant from cutting the puppet's strings, it would seem.

Now think about Dalton's recent summer of flip flops. As the Toronto Sun duly  notes, it's not clear if the ship is being captained by anyone at all.

I am a partisan conservative, but it isn't a stretch to imagine that Dalton's strings are being pulled by the opposition at this point.

Among the more ridiculous suggestions I heard during the Ombudsman's recent skirmish with the McGuinty government was the claim, made by an amateur Liberal performer with whom I am on decent terms, that the Opposition actually pressured McGuinty into reappointing a "corrupt ombudsman", and that the ensuing fracas was their fault, not his. An ombudsman who has been hugely damaging to McGuinty's authority to govern, and whom McGuinty could have fired, but didn't.

Now if that doesn't make Dalton look like a puppet on a string, I don't know what does.

"I've got no striiiings....to hold me down....."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pop Quiz!

School's in! Time for the "education premier" to show us what he's remembered over the summer. Please use full sentences when answering and show your work.

Q. Which Premier is introducing full-day kindergarten for kids who are still not old enough to make it through the day without a nap?

Q: Which Premier is doing the tired old "turn back the clock to crumbling schools" routine despite doing nothing to prevent schools from closing a few years ago?

Q: Which government has failed to meet their own goal of 75 percent of Ontario students in Grades 3 and 6 meeting the provincial average on reading, writing, and arithmetic tests?

(By the way, I like using Star articles to embarass the McPremier. We know they're going to endorse him in 2011, but for now, let's enjoy the backbiting while it lasts.)

Q: Is it me, or does Dalton look a whole lot like McLovin from Superbad?


Q: From the same article, which government was made to look like a bunch of goofs by the same teacher's unions they've bought peace with for the past million years when the head of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario opposed the idea of provincial testing?

Q: Which Premier decided to localize his latest propaganda video in the same enchanted forest as another hapless Liberal leader?

Now for some word problems! :)

If Ontario schools raised over $592.6 million this year to pay for basic school supplies, but Dalton wants to implement a $1.5 billion full day daycare program, how many schools will have to contract out their students as workers like the prisoners in The Shawshank Redemption to make up the shortfall?

Next question:

An Ontario parent is trying to keep from being hauled off to the poorhouse in Dalton McGuinty's Ontario. They have to pay the HST, eco-taxes, the health tax, the highest property taxes in Canada, for eHealth, for LHINs, to protect insurance frauds, for Dalton's campaign team, and now for full day daycare. Now Dalton is saying that people should elect him for the third time as Premier next year.

Where does that leave Ontario parents?

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Firm

I've taken my act on the road all across our province and have been spending time in Ajax-Pickering, where both federal and provincial Conservative candidates are putting the double-team on the Liberals. We all know superstar candidate Chris Alexander has loudmouth MP Mark Holland hiding inside one of those boxes he keeps lying around, but Chris has plenty of positive press already.

That's why I was asked to mention that Todd McCarthy, partner at the firm of Flaherty, Dow, Elliott, and McCarthy, will be representing the PC Party in 2011. Lots of law firms think about expanding their practice, but this is clearly a bit different.

You may recall that the Liberal MPP for Ajax-Pickering, Joe Dickson, got a slap on the wrist from his own boss for charging that the Tories were directly responsible for the Walkerton deaths. You can also find "irrefutable facts"  and other propraganda about the HST on Mr. Dickson's printing business website, some with a suspiciously McGuintyesque imprimatur. As Mr. Dickson has rode the gravy train in Ajax for four decades now, he may wish to consider stepping aside soon.

I hear Brucelea Haven is a lovely place to spend your golden years.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Whole Bunch of Money....

OK, OK. So Dalton messed up again. Well, the good news is we can all save a whole bunch of money on car insurance. Oh wait.

Seriously, Dalton, the Geico Gecko is in trouble with the tea partiers already. Why do you have to be such a meany and make it worse for him? Is it the Australian accent and the fact that there's a hung parliament Down Under?

Putting aside the fact that at least one member of Dalton's caucus needs to watch his premiums, and that it's close to the one-year anniversary of a certain incident near Bloor Street in Toronto, the biggest problem with these changes is that people who try to make auto insurance claims for injuries like whiplash will see a cap on the amount of money they can claim. Too bad, I know lots of people who get whiplash every time Dalton flip flops on an issue!