Why we’re endorsing Kathleen Wynne (and related night thoughts on the mysterious Ontario election of 2014)

Jun 10th, 2014 | By Counterweights Editors | Category: In Brief

Tom Thomson, Mowat Lodge (in Algonquin Park, named after the long-lived Liberal Premier of Ontario Oliver Mowat, 1872-1896, whose Ontario Great Reform Government established Algonquin Park in 1893).

This past Sunday we promised that in “our next posting we counterweights editors will be gratuitously and no doubt vainly and pointlessly making our own mini-endorsement of someone or something for the June 12 Ontario election.”

We keep our promises (even when they were foolish in the first place). And we are now happy to officially announce that counterweights is endorsing the Kathleen Wynne Liberals.

One reason is just that when we look at the four main party leaders, it is altogether clear (to us at least, of course) that Kathleen Wynne will make a considerably better premier of Ontario than any of the other three prospects. (And btw, we also agree with Luisa D’Amato at The Record. Com : “ If you think the Greens are still a fringe party to be disregarded, think again.”)

Tom Thomson, The Jack Pine.

Another reason is that (again in our opinion at any rate) Ms Wynne’s Liberals have more and better cabinet minister prospects than any of their rivals. To take just one important case in point, last night on TVOntario Steve Paikin was quizzing a panel that included representative financial wizards from each of the Conservatives, Greens, Liberals, and New Democrats in Ontario.

Again it was altogether clear to us that the person we feel best about handing our hard-earned tax dollars over to is Ms Wynne’s finance minister, Charles Sousa. Mr Sousa strikes us as a considerably better bet than any of the Conservatives’ Victor Fedeli, the Greens’ Kevin O’Donnell, or the New Democrats’ Michael Prue — as the kind of business mind and financial manager, who can best cope with the challenging but also intriguing prospects of the Ontario economy today.)

We’d add a very last caveat to our endorsements here (even if it seems right now almost terminally utopian). The great Canadian polling aggregator Eric Grenier’s latest seat prediction as we write (Monday, June 9) is Liberals, 54, Conservatives 38, and NDP 15. And this would actually give Ms Wynne’s Liberals the barest of majorities in the 107-seat legislature at Queen’s Park. [See UPDATE below, however, only several hours after this was first posted!]

Tom Thomson, Campfire, 1916.

But for us the 2014 Ontario election remains almost absolutely mysterious, even this close to the finish line. Many things could still happen between now and Thursday. The people of Ontario actually interested in voting on June 12 could finally decide on a similar slim majority for the Hudak Conservatives. Given our current electoral system, there could be a stronger Conservative or Liberal majority — or (more likely?) a Conservative or Liberal minority government. [UPDATE: Our report of 54 Liberal seats above was based on Eric Grenier's Monday posting. His Tuesday, June 10 posting has already dropped the Liberals to a 51-seat minority government!].

One side of our current thinking also believes we should all keep our minds open for some kind of big surprise. But as of Tuesday morning, June 10, we’d probably agree with pollster Nik Nanos. One thing the polling for this campaign does seem to agree on is that there will almost certainly not be even a minority New Democrat government this time around. (This is not 1990. And Kathleen Wynne is not David Peterson.) Andrea Horwath’s New New Democrats have nonetheless tried to do something interesting and more relevant — and that ought to be factored in to the ultimate governing picture too, in our view.

What we would most LIKE to see happen on June 12, ourselves, in our own modest editorial capacity, is the election of a Liberal minority government that would go on to form some kind of majority Liberal-New Democrat “coalition” government, with Kathleen Wynne as premier. (And Charles Sousa as minister of finance, but perhaps even with several New Democrats in other cabinet positions, including Andrea Horwath!!!!)

Tom Thomson, In the Northland.

This is indeed, given the current state of the election campaign, with its various increasingly harsh Liberal-NDP antagonisms and conflicts, at least dreaming in technicolour. It is similarly almost certainly almost terminally utopian. (And maybe the last “almost” should be left out.)

Yet in a world where the Globe and Mail has recommended that the people of Ontario elect Mr Hudak’s  Conservatives — but only “on the short leash of a minority government” — editors like us ought to be able to harbour such nuanced  political judgments too, based on our own understandings of such great economists (and business minds — he put Cambridge University on a sound financial footing), as John Maynard Keynes. So …

A Liberal minority government supported by the New Democrats is what we think would be absolutely best for Ontario right now! (And yes, we have read the Globe and Mail editorial. To us it just doesn’t get the real Ontario economy today. And we say that as small investors, who live off the fruits of capitalism, and the Canadian economy and the Toronto Stock Exchange, like almost everyone else in Canada’s most populous province.) Anyway we conclude, for greater certainty, with the crucial ultimate message : Vive le Kathleen Wynne.

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