Monday, January 08, 2007

McGuinty quietly blows a huge advantage

I’m not surprised that Ontario PC Leader John Tory worked his buns off to eliminate the party’s $10-million-plus debt in two years. What does surprise me is that Premier Pinocchio and his backroom advisers let Tory do so unencumbered by new fundraising limits or corporate donor restrictions, as the Liberals and then Conservatives implemented federally.

But, if you can believe it, McGuinty promised he would do just that. (Another broken promise. Go figure.) Yes, among the 200-plus promises in the Fiberals’ voluminous 2003 election platform was a pledge to “give you the power over the role of money in politics, by asking you to set strict limits on the amounts political parties can raise and spend” (“Government that works for you,” p. 2). How were they going to do this? “We will ask you and your fellow citizens to set those limits through Citizens’ Juries." (“Government that works for you,” p. 12).

Instead, the Fiberals seem to have put all their eggs in their Willy Wonka-inspired electoral reform initiative, or Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform, consisting of one randomly-selected person from each riding. This gussied-up focus group is charged with coming up with alternatives to the first-past-the-post electoral system. (There is no mention of election or party financing in the assembly’s consultation guide.) The assembly's public consultations wrap up at the end of January.

I know what you’re thinking: perhaps this is all a fiendishly clever Fiberal plan to make the Tories look beholden to big business. Sorry, but that ship sailed when McGuinty held the first of his annual $1-million-plus fundraising dinners. And John Tory’s not the one living in a $1-million Rosedale house that his party bought for him (that’s mortgaged to the hilt to boot) – the Guinster is.

Slowing the Tories’ progress in paying off their debt before going into an election would have netted a comparative financial advantage for the Liberals, with the added benefit of actually keeping one of their election promises. Instead, they have tied up $1 million of their borrowing capacity to buy a house for their leader to live in. You’re doing a heckuva job, Dalton!


Anonymous said...

He kept an eye on the finances of service clubs — now an electronic monitoring bracelet will help keep an eye on Clark Stratton.
The former treasurer of the Stratford Kinsmen and Kinette’s Western Ontario Antique Show account was sentenced yesterday to one year of house arrest for defrauding the service clubs over a five-year period.
Mr. Stratton transferred 14 cheques worth more than $46,000 from the antique show account into his security business account, starting in 1998.
He returned most of the money after he took it out and paid the remaining $14,500 last month when he pleaded guilty to fraud.
Mr. Stratton is well known in local political circles. He was campaign manager for Tory Gary Shellenberger, who won the 2003 federal byelection in Perth-Middlesex, and is a former president of the Perth-Middlesex Federal Progressive Conservative Riding Association.
The crime devastated many members of the Kinsmen and Kinnettes, who raise money in the community and are expected to give it back. Mr. Stratton’s parents started the antique show 48 years ago.
Speaking on behalf of the Kinsmen and Kinnettes, members Terry Finnie and Andrew Douglas said the clubs are deeply disappointed in the criminal actions of Mr. Stratton.
“He was placed in a position of trust which he clearly violated. We trust the public will understand that it was the action of one individual and not by our clubs in general,” they said.
Financial problems were the reason he defrauded the service clubs, his lawyer David Barenberg said. The 45-year-old expressed “deep shame” in a letter of apology reviewed by Ontario Court Justice Kathryn McKerlie.
As part of house arrest, he must wear an electronic monitoring device that keeps track of his movements. He can leave his home only for necessary trips for grocery shopping and medical appointments, for example.
Mr. Stratton must also complete 110 hours of community service.
Ms. Finnie and Mr. Douglas said the antique show is the oldest in Ontario and “it is still going strong despite Mr. Stratton’s actions.”

Stratford Beacon Herald January 9,2007

Think this will hurt the conservative campaign in Perth Wellington ?

Anonymous said...

Down in Windsor, it seems the representatives of some of the ridings don't even live there. Windsor-Tecumseh's lives in the Essex riding.