Ontario PC Leader Hudak Needs A Reality Check

It's hard to believe, I know, but sometimes I get tired of politics and the hubris of politicians. Like right now, Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak (a bad choice by the party IMHO) is going around resurrecting the spirit of former Premier Mike Harris, gleeful at the conservative wins in Toronto and federally, sure that he is a shoo-in to the big seat at Queen's Park come October. Stephen Harper's victory has pumped him up. Meanwhile Premier Dalton McGuinty, leader of the Liberal party, looks amused and is busy firing off witty salvos in Hudak's direction. NDP Leader Andrea Horvath is at least showing up on media radar.

Dr. Phil always says the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour. Well, in the past, with the exception of some overlap due to different election dates federally and provincially, Ontarians voted for one party provincially and another federally. With conservative wins both federally and municipally, the odds of Hudak winning has just plummeted. How come he doesn't know this?

However, that shouldn't make McGuinty like the cat with the cream because the NDP won in Ontario about the time Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was in power but Ontarians were fed up with the Liberals. And so voters turned to the NDP. And though the general belief is never again, with the NDP making historic gains in Ottawa in May, that may make Ontarians rethink forever banishing the NDP into the back benches.

Harris really a did a number on this province and this city. He destroyed an Ontario electricity system built on the non-profit ideal and caused our hydro rates to go up and up. He created a toll highway and gave the private operators unmitigated power to gouge Ontarians for 99 years. He set back TTC expansion for decades so that Toronto now has the highest commuting times anywhere, adversely affecting productivity, the economy, and our health. He never saw a deficit he didn't like. He treated the masses as if they were the enemy and tried to barricade Queen's Park. And he created constant conflict. This was all in direct contrast to former Ontario PC governments. Yet Hudak doesn't want to rechannel the Bill Davis era of prosperity and progress but this Harris one. The question is, will voters vote the traditional way, that is, with the Conservative Party now holding power in Ottawa, will they vote Liberal in Ontario? Or will they do an NDP reprise, believing the Liberals have been in power long enough? Or are they in such a pissy we're-alright-Jack-but-the-other-guy-is-living-off-my-tax-dollars-and-the-government-is-spending-it-out-the-door-and-both-need-to-be-stopped mood that they'll have amnesia and vote for Harris-lite aka Hudak? Mind you, everyone says Ontarians will never vote NDP, for they remember the Bob Rae NDP government. Yet though Ontario (OK, Toronto) voters booted out his Liberal leader, they voted for him federally in May, and Ontario voted in more NDP MPs than last time, becoming part of the Orange Wave. So forgiveness happens, and anyway, if they remember the Rae Days, why not the Harris era?

I know politicians are built to talk as if they've won already, but I do wish they'd take stock of the past, get that voters are in a bit of a revolutionary mood, and show some humility.

It's going to be a long summer.