Tuesday, September 06, 2011

As the race begins in Ontario

The writ has still not dropped but the unofficial race is on. A few things this morning on the campaign as it begins...

The Nanos leadership numbers are back, in the form of the best premier numbers. Not a bad place to be for McGuinty at all (party poll numbers not bad as well). As we saw in the federal election, whether you like this polling focus on the leader or not, you might be able to say such numbers are gaining in importance in recent elections. Whether that's a function of media being in 24/7 mode, people's busy lives and their paying less attention or whatever your own theory is, it may be that leadership is just one of those fundamental factors that breaks through all the hullabaloo these days.

Second, a point on this John Ivison column from last night: "Don’t count Dalton McGuinty out yet." Nice that he's prepared not to count McGuinty out as we've only just begun. Anyway, one item he mentions bears some context though. He says this about the Liberal spending record:
"Perhaps, but the Liberals long lived beyond their means and the repair bill will now be borne by future generations — net debt has soared to $217-billion, more than a third of provincial GDP, at an annual cost of nearly $10-billion in interest payments."
He's raising the issue of debt, like a lot of conservative politicians, thinkers, advocates do these days. If you look for comparison's sake at the federal net debt as a percent of GDP, it's actually in the same ballpark percentage wise. Considering that Ontario was one of the hardest hit provinces during the recession and is the largest province and largest economy, it's not surprising. Further, there is that promise to eliminate the deficit by 2017-18. There is more context you could add here but we'll leave it at that for now.

Finally, the issues are beginning to be discussed in the wake of the Liberal platform's release. This endorsement might grate for some:
The Liberal platform takes a forward-looking approach to investing in educational initiatives that will pay dividends for Ontario’s young people and strengthen the economy while reinforcing the health care system. Buttressing its case, the document even quotes somewhat mischievously from former Tory premier Bill Davis, who lavishes praise on the Liberal plan for full-day kindergarten as a wise investment.
Ouch. But then, we know, these Hudak PCs are not your grandparents PCs. Nor are they really your parents PCs...