Friday, October 26, 2012

Dalton McGuinty explains

The news of the Premier's resignation came as a surprise to almost anyone outside those who called McGuinty as "Dalton". That is why his recent interview with Steve Paikin deserves a summary.

Dalton-McGuinty-and-Julie-PaikinIn his rather long conversation with the Premier, Steve Paikin even quoted Peter Russell’s condemnation, (University of Toronto Professor Emeritus):

  • prorogation is usually done when the business is done, just before the summer
  • since Henry VIII who found Parliament very pesky
  • prime-ministers who act like Henry VIII are taking on regal powers
  • in law, it can be prorogued for 1 year (Charter of Rights – Parliament must meet at least once a year)
  • not just bills die, but all business (139 introduced, 109, died)
  • not a good way to run a democracy
  • To tell us, as Mr. McGuinty did on Monday, that he asked the Lieutenant Governor to prorogue the legislature “to allow these discussions with our labour partners and the opposition parties to occur in an atmosphere that is free of the heightened rancour of politics in the legislature” is to show contempt for parliamentary democracy.
  • Constitution has two parts: written (1867) – “similar in principle to that of the UK” second part – principles of parliamentary democracy have been worked out informally, prime-minister is not even mentioned in the written Constitution – not legally enforceable
  • trend of prorogation – like an epidemic
  • Harper 2X, got re-elected, people don’t care but many people didn’t like it, it’s just that Harper had a disorganized opposition
  • it’s lethal to parliamentary democracy when combined with omnibus bills
  • these are not evil dictators; they’re doing it in a benign way and people’s reaction is “ho-hum” and we risk our democracy being put to sleep by inoffensive, benign premiers
  • it might hurt them in the spring election, esp if they don’t go back to the Governor General to ask for a deadline

Dalton James Patrick McGuinty Jr:

  • overly partisan, CTV cameraman (George) – in his 40 years of observing Queen’s Park the place has never been so partisan
  • on 45 separate occasions the opposition has moved a motion to adjourn the debate, causing the bells to ring for 30 minutes
  • we were scheduled to sit for 96 days, average in the country 51 days, after prorogation and having set extra days already, we’ll lose 18 days
  • it’s up to the leader. did you consult caucus? NO. did you consult cabinet? partially – but it’s my prerogative
  • previous government prorogued for five months
  • “I appreciate the advice editorialists offer on an ongoing basis from the comfort and convenience of the sidelines, but I’m in the game” (re: G&M tarnished record editorial)
  • on Monday – agreements with public sector workers – so we’re still working
  • Paikin: reaction universally negative; we already p 5 times already, previous 6, total of 7 mths, previous – 1yr.
  • we do more question periods than anybody else in the country
  • Paikin: others reboot, fresh paint; this one about uncomfortable questions
  • I work in a contact sport – week consumed by a spurious, phony contempt motion – in 220 years history of the Ontario Legislature no member was found in contempt
  • describes personal reasons for resignation (around min 11): daughter’s wedding 3-4 weeks ago, kids – there’s never the right time and it’s hard to get out
  • 87% approval in the party – “they got my back but what I owe them is to look to the future”
  • does “conquering the deficit” hold less appeal to you than rebuilding public services after the Conservative destruction? – no; doubled the debt? balanced the budget 3 yrs in a row, then the recession came
  • recovered all the jobs + more, longest to shortest waiting times, best schools in the English speaking world
  • succession planning (min 21): never places people in visible positions (like Mulroney)
  • no poisoned chalice to successor – he’d request a clean slate for his successor
  • unpopular: HST, health premium, phasing out horse racing subsidies
  • most important think for successor: at some point in time you have to stop listening and you have to make a decision; it’s not all black and white but you can only make one choice
  • most positions adopted by the opposition have some “right” in them and you have to recognize that; don’t let paralysis get a hold of you
  • considers himself lucky; positive outlook – it doesn’t get any better (min 28)

And that was it – the 24th Premier of Ontario.

Sources / More info: tvo-agenda, onw1, onw2,

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