10/15/2012 09:41 EDT | Updated 12/15/2012 05:12 EST

McGuinty: The Only Man Who Can Stop Trudeau?


The resignation of Dalton McGuinty as Premier of Ontario, effective on the day his successor is chosen, presents those of us who believe in private enterprise with a very dismal prospect. The way things are going, it seems that Andrea Horwath of the tax-and-spend crypto-socialist New Democratic Party, will win the next Ontario election to become the fifth female premier.

I say this for two reasons. First, I believe that, like his friend and ally, Jean Charest, Mr. McGuinty quit because he could see the writing on the wall. The Liberal reign at Queen's Park is ending with a whimper; the party needs to renew itself in opposition, like its federal counterpart, which is, in fact, near death.

Secondly, I see no chance that Tim Hudak, the Conservative leader, can win, because he clearly lacks the skills -- starting with an instinct for the jugular -- needed to deliver a victory. Maybe -- just maybe -- the Tories will find a way to dump him in favour of Frank Klees, a much more telegenic politician who has effectively crusaded against the scandalous waste of our tax dollars in the ORNGE air rescue service fiasco. Regardless of who leads the Tories, history tells us that Ontarians seldom like to elect a premier who belongs to the same party as the governing party in Ottawa, where Stephen Harper is the ultimate Imperial PM.


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But back to Ms. Horwath. Her on-air skills have vastly improved since the election and she has the advantage of having in her corner the Machiavellian NDP federal leader, Thomas Mulcair, whose guile would complement her affable and collegial image.

Moreover, the federal and Ontario NDP have efficient political machines in Ontario. The enormous downside of a Horwath victory, of course, would be that, except for supporting the concept of a united Canada, her economic and social policies are distressingly similar to those of Pauline Marois, the separatist- socialist who now governs Quebec in the wake of the Charest implosion.

Both leaders believe you can create a Nirvana by imposing higher taxes on the business and professional citizens whose labour create the jobs big governments destroy in their statist zeal. And, importantly, given that McGuinty, the self-proclaimed education premier, declared war on his core supporters, Ontario's badly-rewarded teachers, it's a safe bet they will return to their NDP roots.

A somewhat brighter outcome of the McGuinty decision could be that, after professing no interest in the job, he will be persuaded by a grassroots movement to run for the position of the eighth leader of the federal Liberals in the last decade. In my view, only a McGuinty candidacy could halt the Justin Trudeau bandwagon in an election next spring open to anyone in Canada -- even Conservative, separatist and socialist moles -- who wish to vote online.

McGuinty is bilingual, relatively young at 57, and is a native of Ottawa, the centre of the Canadian political universe. He knows a lot more about education, health care and fiscal policy than Trudeau, whose positions on these bedrock issues remain -- to be polite, as always -- fuzzy.

Like him or not, McGuinty has actually managed a huge enterprise, Canada's biggest province, whereas the biggest thing Mr. Trudeau has managed is a high school drama class and -- or so he insists -- a Twitter site with some 160,000 fans. McGuinty's other asset would be having a more positive image than Justin Trudeau in Quebec, the one-time Liberal bastion, where Trudeau's leadership announcement -- which got World War III-like headlines and photographs in the Anglo press -- was buried in the French media.

Oh, and by the way, will the Liberal Premier, Christy Clark of British Columbia, please turn off the lights?

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