Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Dalton McGuinty: Thoughtful Guy

Ontario Premier "concerned with schism" in Tories

Of all the things that can be said about Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, there's one thing that can't be denied: he's a thoughtful guy.

For example, the Ontario Liberal leader recently noted that he's "concerned" about what he believes to be a growing schism within the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.

See? Thoughtful guy.

McGuinty's concern stems from veteran Tory MPP Norm Sterling losing his party's nomination in Carleton-Mississippi Mills to newcomer Jack MacLaren. Sterling has since indicated he may vote Liberal in the next provincial election.

“I’m concerned with the schism that might be developing within the party,” McGuinty remarked. “I think Ontarians have come to rely on a Progressive Conservative voice being there to give expression to that perspective. I’m concerned about where that might go.”

Underlying MacLaren oustering Sterling is clearly the issue of property rights: MacLaren, a longtime farmer, is also active in the Ontario Landowners Association.

The OLA was recently described as a "Tory Trojan Horse" in a recent column in the Toronto Star.

MacLaren's victory is an emerging sign that MPP Randy Hillier, former leadership candidate for the party and former President of the OLA, is growing his influence within the party. He's come a long way since being the leadership candidate excluded from Tim Hudak's shadow cabinet.

Certainly, the emergence of Hillier and the OLA could drive up some tensions within the PC caucus, as a strengthened libertarian wing of the party challenges the progressive wing of the party to strengthen its commitment to property rights.

Then again, to pass of property rights as a threat to progressive values is a suggestion that basic and fundamental freedoms pose some kind of threat to progressive ideas. There's no question that many self-identifying progressives share this particular idea, but that doesn't make them right.

McGuinty would certainly shed no tears if property rights became an issue salient enough to split the Tories apart. McGuinty himself has been rather aggressive toward property rights during his tenure as Premier.

McGuinty's Far North Act has proven to be particularly troublesome.

So maybe Dalton McGuinty isn't that thoughtful a guy after all; merely trying to provoke the progressive-leaning wing of the Progressive Conservative Party to mobilize against its growing libertarian wing.

It would spare McGuinty the problem of having to actually address the problems within his own policies.

Nope. Not nearly so thoughtful at all.

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