It came as absolutely no surprise to read that according to one online poll, 93 per cent of respondents said that Tuesday's Ontario leaders debate didn't change their minds in terms of who they'll be voting for next week.
After all, that vapid and vacuous debate didn't change my mind on who's getting my vote (more on that later.)
Indeed, just consider the candidates that are on that multiple choice quiz otherwise known as an election ballot:
A. Dalton McGuinty. The high-flying (according to some polls) albeit thoroughly-lying (according to some analysts of his record) premier might miraculously "three-peat" -- despite myriad broken promises and numerous policies that have so many Ontarians fuming. From the HST to health fees, taxpayers feel like they're being nickel-and-dimed to death. And let's not forget eHealth and numerous OLG scandals. It's been one fiasco after another for Premier Pinocchio -- someone who likely wouldn't have received a second term in 2007 if not for John Tory's cosmically stupid faith-based schools blunder.
B. Andrea Horwath. Orange has never been more in vogue thanks to the passing of federal NDP leader Jack Layton. But I'm taking a pass on Orangemania. This hue is associated with Halloween, the Philadelphia Flyers, road closure signage, and other horrors. I vividly remember life in Ontario under the NDP -- an economic period more chilling than any Saw movie.
C. Tim Hudak. In a way, Hudak resembles George Smitherman when Furious George was running for mayor of Toronto: you get this sense that Hudak feels entitled to be premier. His unofficial campaign slogan seems to be: "I'm not Dalton." That's not good enough.
Ironically, Hudak's fear-mongering critics label him "Mike Harris-Lite." If only! When it comes to policies that appeal to conservatives, this dog don't hunt.
Full disclosure: I'm a red meat Conservative. But with the Hudak camp, there's no Harris-esque Common Sense Revolution afoot. In fact, there's not much common sense, period.
If any descriptor fits Hudak, it's "McGuinty-Lite." Gasp -- in some photos, Hudak even physically resembles Premier Mom.
Oddly, the PCs are running ads slamming McGuinty as "the tax man." Yet, does Hudak plan to jettison the HST he condemns so vociferously? No chance.
How does that Who song go? "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."
Most Conservatives I know are in crisis mode. Some say they'll be going to the ballot box holding their noses. Others say not even a hazmat suit can stifle the stench of ineptitude emanating from Hudak.
Case in point: the despicable Liberal promise of a $10,000 tax credit for companies hiring new immigrants. This was a gift for the Tories. But criticism of this odious policy was so ham-fisted the PCs made themselves look anti-immigrant. This discriminatory pledge could've -- and should've -- been McGuinty's "John Tory moment." Instead, the Tories had to go on the defensive. Amazing.
Allow me to share an anecdote that speaks volumes re: Hudak's ineffectiveness. Almost a decade ago, when the Tories were still governing, Walter Sendzik, the then-publisher of St. Catharines-based Vines magazine, was justifiably furious that the LCBO was unfairly competing against his magazine with its own publication, Food & Drink.
"Nowhere does it say [in the regulations] that it [liquor board] should become a publishing empire," said Sendzik.
At the time, Hudak was the minister responsible for the LCBO as well as Sendzik's MPP. Sendzik demanded action. Hudak's response according to Sendzik? "Walter, it [the LCBO] is out of my hands."
"Out of my hands"? As the ministerial master of an abusive government agency, Hudak had all the tools required to do the right thing. Instead he didn't want to rock the boat. It was a "no muss, no fuss" strategy while in power, but today it comes across as "no guts, no glory."
Indeed, Hudak has forfeited a slam-dunk opportunity to ride that conservative tidal wave that made Rob Ford mayor and gave Stephen Harper a majority. He could've run on a simple "respect for taxpayers" platform and promise to axe the HST outright. That alone would've carried the day. Instead, he yammers on about chain gangs.
This Thursday, I plan to decline my ballot. In other words, I'm choosing "D" on that province-wide multiple choice quiz: none of the above.