Election is coming

In just a few short weeks, there is a strong possibility that Ontario may be in the throes of a provincial general election.

It is a plausible scenario.

Here’s how it might unfold:  sometime later this month, Kathleen Wynne’s Minister of Finance, Charles Sousa, would announce the date when he plans to present his 2014-15 budget speech.

He would likely say he plans to present his budget to the Legislature sometime in April. After the budget is tabled, a debate on the budget motion would then be initiated, and a vote on the motion would follow a few days later.

If this budget motion were to be defeated, it would signal decisively that the Liberal government has lost the confidence of the House.

Tradition would then compel the premier to ask the lieutenant governor to dissolve the provincial parliament, and a general election campaign would be on.

Ontarians might vote for a new government in late May or even early June.

However, another plausible scenario might transpire, whereby the government survives for now, and no election would take place this spring.

Here’s how this alternative scenario might transpire: the premier, seeking to avoid an election she fears she would lose, would again enter into public and private negotiations with the NDP Leader. The NDP would offer a wish list of ideas they would want included in the budget. The Liberals might choose to embrace those NDP proposals, and commit to including them in the budget.

The new spending the NDP requested under this scenario would be paid for with borrowed money. The NDP, having had their requests granted by the Liberals, would promise to allow the budget motion to pass, either by voting for it or abstaining on it.

The vote on the budget motion would take place sometime in April or May, and if it were to pass with NDP support, the election would be put on hold.

There are other possible scenarios that might unfold in the coming weeks, and any number of things could happen. No one has a crystal ball, and only time will tell.

In spite of all this, one thing is certain: our Ontario PC Caucus has consistently opposed the Liberal government budget motions, going back over the past 10 years.

We have voted against the Liberal budget motions because we do not have confidence in the current Liberal government.

We have not supported their tax increases, out-of-control overall spending, excessive red tape, and their policy of doubling of the provincial debt.

We have urged them to adopt our jobs plan, since they appear to have no effective jobs plan of their own.

It is our responsibility as an opposition party to hold the government accountable, and prepare to form the next government, if we are entrusted with the support of Ontario voters.

As an opposition party, it is not our responsibility to prop up a government which we fundamentally do not support.

And there is one other certainty: a provincial election will come eventually, and Ontario voters will again be given a chance to choose a new direction for the province.

* * *

On Feb. 27, I spoke in the Legislature and called upon the minister of transportation to do a safety study of the intersection of Highway 7 and Wellington Road 29 in the Township of Guelph-Eramosa.

Safety at this busy intersection is complicated by the rail track which runs very close and parallel to Highway 7. The railroad is so close to the intersection that a tractor trailer stopped at the signal light may have its’ trailer straddling the rail tracks.

It is my hope that the minister will instruct his staff to take another, open-minded look at the safety of the intersection, and look for ways to make it safer.

Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott welcomes comments. He can be reached at 1-800-265-2366. His website is www.tedarnottmpp.com.


Ted Arnott, Wellington-Halton Hills MPP