Okay, so we don't really have a "beltway" at Queen's Park, but there is a bubble that sometimes seems to exist around the Pink Palace. Maybe we can say "inside the circle" or "inside the ring."
Last week, Andrea Horwath asked Ontarians to have their say on the budget. Folks were invited to tell New Democrats what they thought. At the time of writing, we have received over 5,000 responses. People from across Ontario have been calling and emailing to tell us what they liked and didn't.
Some folks are okay with the budget, and others aren't. Some folks are saying that they want to go back to the polls and others are saying the last thing they want is another election.
But I can hear you asking: What does this have to do with beltways, circles or rings?
There was a lot of chatter in the halls. People in the gallery murmured that this was a schtick or a stall tactic. It's unfortunate that this was the knee-jerk reaction.
The fact is that while Ontarians have lots of issues with the budget, one thing that was almost unanimous was that people were really happy that someone asked them what they think.
The Gallery somehow decided the decision about supporting or not supporting the budget should be made in a vacuum. That's absurd. New Democrats are consulting far and wide, and a key part of that is our public consultation.
In times like this we need to look to the wisdom of the ages -- Spider-Man: "With great power comes great responsibility."
New Democrats are consulting because the Liberals have delivered a budget that shows little in the way of understanding how a minority works. It falls to New Democrats to come up with a solution that pulls us back from the brink of an election.
The jaded reaction inside the ring was commentary on how unusual it is actually go out and ask people what they think, and the reaction from the public says New Democrats have tapped into the Zeitgeist.
At the end of the day it's going to be up to the Liberals whether we have an election or not. New Democrats have been fair and reasonable thus far, and that's what we are going to be going forward.