Today, Globe and Mail Queen’s Park columnist Murray Campbell discusses the McGuinty campaign’s blasé attitude in the face of stagnant polls:
Dalton McGuinty’s suggestion yesterday that he’s comfortable with voters handing him a minority government is interesting enough. But the Liberal Leader’s admission that he has no intention of changing his campaign style in the face of such a verdict is astonishing.
It’s another indication that the Liberals are, in effect, navigating without instruments in the Ontario election campaign by ignoring the unpopularity of their leader.
This is an uncomfortable truth for the Liberal Leader’s loyal coterie, but the fact is that he is disliked by lots of people who voted for him last time. Perhaps it’s his health tax, perhaps it’s the way he comes across on television, but it’s undeniable.
Mike Harris was widely disliked, too, but he had a reputation for doing what he said he would do and he won a second mandate. Mr. McGuinty’s record means that many voters simply don’t believe him when he makes pledges for the next four years. And yet the Liberals have put him front and centre in this campaign. He alone is featured in party ads and his cabinet team, which is as strong as they come, is rarely called upon for support.
Campbell finishes off by saying, “Unless he finds a second gear for his campaign, Mr. McGuinty could be encountering that iceberg on his own.”
That iceberg may have come in the guise of long-time Toronto Liberal MPP and community safety minister Monte Kwinter, who has reiterated his support for funding faith-based schools. Kwinter was quoted yesterday in the North York Mirror:
…Kwinter was the only member of the Liberal caucus to vote with the last conservative government for a tax credit for faith-based schools. “Constituents in my riding supported it, and I’m their representative so I supported it,” he said. “Certainly I would be a hypocrite to say that suddenly I don’t think that it’s something that should be done.” Kwinter noted he has six grandchildren in faith-based schools.
Kwinter’s words are exceedingly careful, but they are analogous to PC MPP Bill Murdoch’s statement earlier this week that, based on his constituents views, he could not vote for faith funding at this time. Over to you, Premier Pinocchio.