A News Commentary by NAL reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted March 15th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
Ontario Premier Kathleen’s decision to make like former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper and use the some medieval tool called prorogation to suddenly shut down the legislature this March 15th offers people out here one more reason to boot her out of the province’s top job this spring.
Already in competition with Donald Trump for some of the lowest public approval ratings of any elected leader on the continent, Wynne probably couldn’t do much more outside of recording herself drowning kittens and posting it on Facebook to make herself more disliked with enough Ontario voters to bury her in a landslide.
Yet all at once, Wynne announces this March 15th that she is going to shut this session of the Ontario legislature down, at least until this coming Monday, March 19th, when the Throne Speech that will set the framework for her Liberal government’s campaign platform for this June’s provincial election will be delivered. Then who knows if she will allow much more sitting of the legislature after that.
In a parliamentary system like ours, the legislature is the main forum for members of other parties – in this case the Tories and the NDP – to confront the premier and other ministers of the government with questions and concerns, or to table amendments to bills or private member bills of their own.
No wonder both NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and newly elected Tory Leader Doug Ford fired out statements this March 15th – in Horwath’s case calling the prorogation a “stunt” and “nothing more than a desperate attempt to wipe the slate clean by a tired Liberal government that’s well past its expiry date,” and Ford called it an attempt to set “a reset” for her government that Ontarians will see through.
“The people of this province know better,” charged Ford in his statement. “There is no reset on 15 years of Liberal waste and political corruption.”
Wynne attempted to explain the her prorogation of the legislature with the following language, before offering up a now familiar list of what she views as her government’s accomplishments over the past session – “People are feeling tremendous pressure in their everyday lives. They’re working harder than ever, but struggling to get ahead. In a province as prosperous as Ontario, the government has a responsibility to listen, to care and to take action.”
“Through the (upcoming March 19th) Throne Speech,” Wynne added, “we’ll share our next steps to build on a plan that reflects the values of the people of this province. Right now, we can’t afford to pull back, and our plan will show how we’re supporting every person in this province with the care and opportunity they need to get ahead.”
What a head-scratcher all of that is, especially since Wynne and her Liberal government predecessor, former premier Dalton McGuinty, have already had a whole decade and a half to do something to listen, to care and to act to do something about all of the pressure people are feeling in their lives.’
And what does that have to do with suddenly cutting off the business of the legislature until the Throne Speech, then who knows how much more, if any, time she will allow for legislative business before this coming June 7th election.
From what I’ve been hearing from countless numbers of people in this region of the province month after month for the past three or four years, is that that election could not come soon enough.
Niagara At Large will be posting much more news and commentary on the coming provincial election in the days and weeks ahead.
Here are excerpts from the statements issued this March 15th from the Premier and NDP and Tory leaders on the proroguing of provincial parliament –
“Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced today that the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, has accepted the Premier’s advice to prorogue the legislature as of 1:30 p.m. on Thursday (March 15th). The government’s plans for the new session will be outlined by the Lieutenant Governor when she delivers a Speech from the Throne on March 19, 2018 at 12:00 p.m.,” says the statement issued by the Premier’s office.
“The government will reintroduce government bills that were before the legislature prior to prorogation so that debate on them can continue,” adds the statement, and “no sitting days will be lost due to prorogation, as the legislature is convening for the 3rd session on March 19, 2018, consistent with the Parliamentary Calendar established in the 1st session.”
In response, Tory leader Doug Ford released a statement saying that; “By proroguing the Legislature, Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals want you to think this is a reset for their government. But the people of this province know better. There is no reset on 15 years of Liberal waste and political corruption.”
“We’ve seen this story before,” Ford’s statement adds. “Kathleen Wynne is untrustworthy. Her government will say, do, and promise anything to cling to power. She is only interested in saving her own political career.
“Their most recent broken promise – plunging Ontario back into a deficit – shows they don’t care about keeping their word.
“For 15 years Ontario families have struggled, and watched as Liberal insiders and elites grow rich. But I am here to tell you that the Premier’s days are numbered.
“Relief for Ontario families is in sight. We are ready to fight for hard working Ontarians, and to put money back in the taxpayer’s pocket. And we are just getting started.”
The statement from NDP leader Andrea Horwath reads as follows –
“Today’s prorogation stunt by Kathleen Wynne is nothing more than a desperate attempt to wipe the slate clean by a tired Liberal government that’s well past its expiry date. The Liberals had 15 years to make life better for Ontarians, and they let people down. People are not buying a last-ditch attempt by Kathleen Wynne to grab their attention, and to convince them that this time she’ll be different. The fact is, anything she really intended to do, she could have done already.
A throne speech just weeks before an election campaign won’t fix hallway medicine, or provide prescription medicine to all the people who need it. It won’t end the problems in seniors care homes. It won’t fix a single crumbling school. It won’t put Hydro One back into public hands.
Doug Ford and the Conservatives are promising even deeper cuts to the public services Ontarians count on. On June 7, Ontarians don’t have to choose between bad and worse. This time, let’s do something completely different. Instead of cynicism, it’s time for hope.”
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