The McGuinty Fiberals at Queen's Park put out a lamer-than-usual hit release on Ontario PC Leader John Tory at 12:30 p.m. today. Their banker’s hours timing was consistent with the Ontario Liberal party Budget e-mail that went out last night – at 11:00 p.m. (your War Room’s going to have to be a little faster than that during the election, Premier Pinocchio)
The PC Party’s blast e-mail, on the other hand, went out around 8:00 p.m. And, unlike the Fiberals, Tory’s team wasn’t in a position to know what was in the Budget ahead of time. (Full disclosure: I help out the Ontario PCs from time to time.) Here’s the Fiberals’ release:
John Tory, meet John Tory
Credibility gap widens as Tory pledges both support and opposition to the Liberal budget
QUEEN'S PARK, March 23 /CNW/ - Today John Tory's credibility gap grew wider as he has simultaneously pledged support for the McGuinty budget, while pledging to vote against it.
Meet John Tory No. 1 - he likes the progressive investments in the McGuinty budget:
Reporter: "(Are) there any initiatives in yesterday's budget that you would reverse?"
John Tory: "No, I can't think of one I would reverse... I can't think at the moment... I can't think of one that I would tell you right now that I would reverse." (Tory Press Conference, March 23, 2007)
Now meet John Tory No.2 - he doesn't like the progressive investments in the McGuinty budget:
"Conservative leader John Tory pronounced the budget 'disappointing' and accused Premier Dalton McGuinty of orchestrating a 'political spending buffet'." (Ottawa Citizen, March 23, 2007)
It sure does take a different kind of leader to oppose what you support. Or maybe that's support what you oppose? John?
/For further information: Dave Penfold, (416) 325-3676, firstname.lastname@example.org/
First of all, I seem to recall that McGuinty opposed every single PC Budget between 1996 and 2003, but at the same time, when pressed by reporters, refused to commit to reversing any of the Harris tax cuts. (I’ll dig up some quotes at home and post them tonight). So this is no different.
And now that I think of it, didn’t McGuinty promise during the last election, like, in writing and everything, that he wasn’t going to raise personal income taxes at all?
If the Liberals intend to make the next election a contest between Dalton McGuinty's crediblity and John Tory's, well, that will be something to see.
Perhaps more interesting, the fact that the Fiberals’ contrasting “quote” is not a quote at all but a reporter’s paraphrase, suggests that Tory didn’t give McGuinty’s crew much to work with in his post-Budget reaction.
The upshot is, Tory emerges unscathed from the Budget immediately preceding his first election as leader. Which is more than I can say for McGuinty, who had a memorable meltdown in the 1999 Budget lockup.