Monday, April 9, 2012

Perpetual Resurrection

It's Easter/Passover weekend and renewal and rebirth seem to be in the air.
The Quebec Liberals are in big trouble. The B.C. Liberals are in big trouble. The Alberta Liberals (oops, PC Party of Alberta) are in really big trouble.

We seem to be on track for another year of cross-country Liberal defeats. of these things is not like the others. You know what I'm talking about, fellow Ontarians.

No sir. There'll be no change here in Ontario. Things will continue as they always have.

In Alberta, as is the case in B.C. and Quebec, the people there want to be masters of their own fate. They aren't afraid to push back against unpopular governments. Think of the HST revolt in B.C., and the constant debates in Quebec about where that province is headed. The power centre in this country seems to be shifting westward, to resource rich provinces, a fact that is not lost on Quebeckers.

Ontarians? Pfft. Forget it. They don't want to be bothered with what their provincial government is doing. They don't want to engage in a debate about where their province is headed. They just don't care.

As Adam Radwanski uncharacteristically noted a few days ago, the Liberals quietly left out a tax credit for skilled immigrants from their budget. That would be the tax credit for skilled immigrants that got a ton of attention during the last provincial election. After lambasting the PC's for being against it, the Liberals decided that if it was such a big issue, they would just quietly drop it. And the people seem to be OK with that.

Then there was the Drummond Report. You all remember the Drummond Report, I presume? Silly me, I thought people were going to care about the Drummond Report and how much of it actually made it into the budget. But no. See, the Drummond Report would have required change, and Ontarians don't want any of that.

And then there's ORNGE. Yesterday, it was revealed that the Ministry of Health couldn't be bothered to properly oversee what was going on there. How Deb Matthews is going to continue her "I dunno" act after this is a mystery to me, but I'm sure Ontarians will find new and exciting ways not to care. She could strip naked and run around on the Queen's Park lawn screaming, "Yes! I did it!" and it'd probably make page 7 of the Star.

What are Ontarians preoccupied with? It would seem they are preoccupied with making sure their landscape changes as little as possible. Whether it's a casino on the waterfront in Toronto, a quarry up in Melancthon, an airport in Pickering, a power plant in Mississauga or Oakville, or LRT/subways all across the GTA, people are hard at work in Ontario organizing to make sure nothing changes. And that's not even touching pressing social issues like whether wireless Internet in the classroom gives kids brain cancer.

Out in Alberta and B.C. and Saskatchewan, they're busy exporting national resources that countries want to buy and profiting as a result. Here in Ontario, we have to read newspaper editorials from academics like Thomas Homer-Dixon telling us not to worry- if we suffer for an undisclosed period of time, we'll eventually reap the benefits of having a ton of universities and a bunch of green power producers. Both of those have to be massively subsidized now because they don't seem to be driving the economy, but so what? Going up to Northern Ontario and getting resources out of the ground is short sighted. And in making that argument, Homer-Dixon shows that he is no different from all the other old-fart economic nationalists who have been repeating the same arguments about keeping our resources inside Canada since the 1970's.

Consider this, readers-from-outside-Ontario: Ontario has huge swaths of undeveloped land bursting with natural resources that we're not going to use because unlike you, we don't want to be hewers of wood and drawers of water. We don't want competition. We don't want economic development. We don't want innovation. Innovation is a foreign concept. Three letters for you, readers: RIM. And also: who do you think James Moore is trying to impress by telling Target that they need to have appropriate levels of Canadian content? Well, amongst others, it would be people from Ontario who don't want to become pawns of the United States.

And you know what's even crazier? Despite all this griping, we have opposition parties- like this group of people calling themselves the PC Party of Ontario- and their membership spends their time complaining about stuff like how the party has the word "progressive" in the title! If this were Alberta or Quebec or B.C., the membership would be more concerned with doing stuff like holding EDA meetings and interacting with their party executive and proposing policy resolutions- without having to be told to do so by the party executive that they constantly gripe about. In short, they would get off their asses and make the party reflect their views. But we don't do that here, folks.

Because in a PC Party of Ontario in which the members debated stuff and tried to make things more conservative, they would eventually have to confront the fact that in order to fix this province, we have to have a spirit of competition and economic development. And that, as you probably know, would divide people. It would bring back memories of Mike Harris, whose policies were divisive even though people (inside and outside the PC Party of Ontario) have to be reminded of what the hell they were half the time. So, in reality, they are perfectly fine with the leadership doing whatever it is they're doing, and they don't make a peep until an election gets lost.

Canvassing in Toronto Danforth some weeks ago, I happened upon an older man with a Conservative sign on his lawn who told me he had a bone to pick with Hudak. (This being a federal byelection, I couldn't imagine why he was bringing Hudak into the discussion, but then I remembered Ontarians can't be bothered to remember the difference between federal and provincial politics either.) He didn't like the fact that Hudak wanted to sell the LCBO. His reasoning was that the LCBO was a major cash cow for the government, and therefore shouldn't be sold.

This was a man with a blue sign on his lawn. In Toronto Danforth. And he couldn't see why a conservative provincial party leader supposedly wanted more competition as relates to alcohol distribution. (I have to be very careful to say supposedly here, because, well, you know.) Oh, and he also admonished me for knocking on his door on a Sunday. Because we don't do that in Ontario either, as it's still the 19th century here. Maybe I should have told him that the LCBO operates on Sundays.

I would talk again about how the Ontario Liberals are a cult and therefore have no need for debate, but since their Education Minister just held a press conference where she asked one teacher's union to come back to the bargaining table because all the other teachers unions are doing it, it hardly seems necessary.

So understand this well, PC Party of Ontario supporters and activists. You- yes, you- are responsible for this ridiculous situation. Not Hudak. Hudak is doing stuff. You personally may not like the stuff he's doing, but he's doing stuff. You aren't. You're finding excuses like "The PC Party of Ontario has a P in the name." You're too afraid to talk up conservative ideas to your friends because they're going to look at you funny. Sooner or later we're going to be the only province in the country with a Liberal government, except for P.E.I. (and the PEI Liberals are so far to the right that they don't count) and it'll be your fault, because you were waiting for the leader's office and exec to do stuff for you instead of doing it for yourself. Like, you know, a conservative.

So in your honour, PC Party of Ontario activists who don't do enough because your friends will look at you funny, I'd like to show you "Oh! Canada: Our Bought And Sold Out Land." It's a video done by a kid from Oshawa that contains more than its fair share of economic nationalist arguments from the 70's and questionable production values, and it certainly does blame Canada's economic woes on the Bilderbergers. But hey: this kid went out and interviewed a bunch of politicians and made this video, and he's getting noticed for it.

If you worked half as hard as this kid at changing the political discourse of this province from "Governments are selling us out to big banks and corporations" to "We need to learn how to compete with big banks and corporations" instead of relying on other people to do it for you, then Dalton would be gone so fast his pointy head would spin. But he is still Premier, because he knows you're not going to do it. And then maybe we would be a little bit more like Alberta, and you wouldn't have to whine about how you wished you could move there.

Think hard about that.

Good night, Ontario.


  1. I am not from Ontario, but this was a good read for any Conservative activist. Very provocative - thanks.

  2. Will I appreciate your rant and agree with it for the most part, being from Toronto, I think it is important to distinguish between those who are doing things, the conservatives fighting wind turbines all across rural Ontario, those trying to protect the revenue-sharing agreements between horse racing facilities and the government, and others like them and the conservatives you identify who are not doing anything.

    Obviously, the issue will always be that the ones who aren't doing anything are doing so where we most badly need to win.

  3. Fair point. The people who could be doing more, but aren't, know who they are. Everyone else: you are to be commended.