The flaky, smarmy, paternalistic, teflon man who has been premier of Canada's most populous province for nine years and leader of his party for sixteen - sixteen years -must do all Canadians a favour and quit, preferably tomorrow.
If he doesn't, he will be taught the same lesson that Jean Charest (nine years in power, fourteen years at his party's helm) received here in Quebec on September 4th. That lesson is that even an unlikable and untested opposition leader is preferable to another period of undetermined length filled with empty platitudes, zero leadership, and pathetic partisanship from a well-intentioned but incompetent and arrogant preem.
It is perhaps not his intention to be arrogant. Perhaps that austere, modest Ottawan concerned with the downtrodden and the everyman image he has worked so carefully to cultivate is in fact genuine. But his assumption that the citizens of his province should still care after all this time in fact demonstrates the grandest arrogance that exists, whether he realizes it or not.
My personal hope is that the ridiculously stupid decision to cancel two power plants will go down in history as the sword this government fell on. At the cost of a quarter of a billion dollars and counting, in a province already struggling with a 15 billion structural deficit and limited ability to generate tax revenue (not to mention in need of new power generation sources), it is colossally indefensible. Unless you consider a pathetic bid to please suburbanites and hold onto power a worthy political action. It is symptomatic of a government that perpetually speaks out of both sides of its mouth and is appropriate for them to be put to rest on. Teflon has managed to convinces Ontarians that someone who claims to be about education yet doubles tuition fees, who claims to wish for a "green economy" yet bails out auto manufacturers and presides over the most intensive car dependent suburban expansion in the provinces' history, is a perfectly legitimate political leader. That a government that "cares" about transit and has managed to build zero subway stops in ten years, despite the worst traffic of all time, and a government that suddenly that asks public sector workers to "do their part" after blithely increasing all their wages to six figures for ten years against a backdrop of anemic to negative economic growth, is somehow a "prudent" choice.
Well, things are going to get worse before they get better now that all that water has flowed under the bridge, so why doesn't Teflon get out while the getting's good? Or is he really that keen to sacrifice his entire reputation and go down in history as the premier who chased the province around and around the toilet bowl?
It's not that the Ontario Liberal party is a wasteland, unlike its federal counterpart. There are actually some pretty damn smart women who could revitalize it and make it relevant again. 42 year old whippersnapping lawyer and education minister Laurel Broten or phd-holding no-bullshit Health minister Deb Matthews are two names that come to mind. But of course party renewal/regeneration and new ideas are the last thing father-knows-best, Bob Saget Dalton and his bumbling idiot collection of now deposed scandal-ridden yes-men (all men) like Smitherman and Caplan want. And it is to these respectable women's discredit that they do not start a revolt against him. The leadership cult culture of modern political parties in "democracies" has all but ensured that the vast majority of our elected representatives have no vehicule to put forward their smarts or use their talents. The inclusion of women and minorities has been purely symbolic.
Instead, we have to endure this Teflon man for how much longer, already? 1996 is when he stepped on the scene. To put that in perspective, that is when the internet was still referred to as the "information superhighway". Apple was nearly bankrupt. George Clooney was Batman. Microsoft used Start me up by the Rolling Stones for its Windows 95 ad campaign, and Bill Clinton used Fleetwood Mac's Don't Stop for his re-election campaign, and these musical choices were actually considered "hip". That's how long ago 1996 was, for Christ's sake. Please step aside, Dalton. It is the only redeeming action left for you to take.