Roses are red, violets are blue, the Ontario trillium is white – right?
Not if you were a Liberal in Ontario in the late 1980s. To adorn the cover of the government's 1988 budget documents – the first budget after winning their huge majority in September 1987 – Liberal treasurer Robert Nixon chose a red trillium. Soon it came out that the red trillum differed from the traditional white one in more than its colour.
The red trillium emits a noxious smell – not unlike the stench left by the 1985-90 Peterson government that jacked up welfare rates, the size of the civil service, and taxes (33 separate tax increases!), leaving their successors in the NDP government of Bob Rae with a time bomb, instead of the balanced budget they claimed (but it was Rae who put the Liberals in power in 1985, so there was a sort of poetic justice to him having to clean up their mess).
Now, as if their 50-plus broken promises weren’t enough, the McGuinty Fiberals have dropped another Liberal-scented stinkbomb on unsuspecting Ontarians. From today’s Toronto Star:
The Liberal government has quietly replaced the traditional Ontario trillium logo dating back to 1964 with a version of the flower similar to the party’s trademark.
In a move opposition critics blasted as “a waste of money” at a time when Premier Dalton McGuinty’s administration is running a deficit, the stylized trillium has been radically changed.
Gone is the classic T-shaped rendition of the official provincial flower introduced by Progressive Conservative premier John Robarts 42 years ago.
In its place is a more detailed A-shaped trillium that is eerily similar to one that appears in the dot on the “i” in the Ontario Liberal Party’s three-year-old logo.
Bensimon Byrne, a Liberal-friendly advertising firm, designed the new provincial logo at a cost of $219,000. The agency’s Peter Byrne created the Liberals’ 2003 election ads, including the now-infamous spot featuring McGuinty saying: “I won’t raise your taxes.”
(For the full story, you’ll have to go to TheStar.com and find it – posting the Star’s links never seems to work for me.)
So what appears to be an innocent “rebranding” of the Ontario government is really (1) an attempt to subliminally equate the Ontario government with the Ontario Liberal party and (2) another reward to the Fiberals’ favourite ad agency. I guess you could call the new logo a Trojan flower.
But who is surprised, really? The arrogance symbolized by the phrase “l’état, c’est moi” is deep in the marrow of the Liberal party. Appropriating government symbols to meet the Liberal’s party’s ends – which ends are, after all, questioned only by bigots and Bible-thumpers – is merely one of the more innocent manifestations of their manifest destiny. The sponsorship scandal is one of the more guilty ones.
Another memory of Peterson-era arrogance: after they brought down the Miller PC government in June of 1985, a Liberal banner hung from the front of the Ontario Legislature – for the entire summer. I’m not kidding.