While Andrea Horwath is "consulting" with Ontarians on the budget , she is expected to continue to wield a slew of demands for the Ontario Liberals in exchange for their political support. The Liberals should reject these demands and corner the NDP as they have nowhere to go but to support the government's 2013 budget.
According to Horwath , "People told us they are tired of being ignored by governments that seem more concerned with themselves than with the people who elected them. We put their issues on the agenda. Now we want to ask them how we achieve results that work for them." This is more of a public relations stunt than a real listening exercise by the NDP.
The way the party has decided to consult Ontarians is via a 1-800 number. The reality is that this gesture is making the Ontario NDP look indecisive and weak, instead of inclusive, as intended. In a representative democracy system such as ours, this is almost like making important government decisions via referendums, the way they do in California.
The latest demands came mere days ago when Horwath demanded to have an office created to look at government spending and also to give the provincial ombudsman a mandate to investigate the health care sector. This includes hospitals, ambulance services, nursing homes and other health care facilities -- areas where a perception of corruption is the greatest.
For the NDP leader, the intention is to "give seniors and families in Ontario the same right as someone in a corrections facility, to an accountable ombudsman." Horwath also announced that she will continue to produce a slew of requests before meeting with Premier Kathleen Wynne ahead of the all-important budget vote at the end of the month. The true intent behind all these demands is to ultimately destroy the Liberals.
For the Liberals to give the ombudsman unwarranted power would be like allowing a public hearing on their own shortcomings. It would almost be like giving their political enemies lots of eloquent materials to attack them with. After all, that is what ended the promise of a short lived leadership of former Prime Minister Paul Martin.
When an alleged sponsorship scandal and misconduct came to play, it was Martin's political enemy Jean Chretien who called the Gomery Inquiry and left before the findings were released. Not only did that destroy a Prime Minister, it nearly destroyed the Liberal brand and made way for the Conservatives to win successive elections.
The NDP ultimately wants to replace the Liberals as the "natural governing" party; its latest demand is a political time bomb for the Liberal brand that could destroy the party. This demand -- if accepted by the Liberals -- might be what the sponsorship scandal became for the federal Liberals and lead to the ultimate success of the federal NDP.
So far, the Liberals have accommodated the NDP with deep cuts on auto insurance and the end of corporate tax credits for big companies. That should be the end, as the ultimate motive of the NDP is to destroy the Liberals instead of being helpful to the discussion.
If the Liberals want to stave off a political sinker , they should reject the NDP's demands and dare them to call an election. The reality is that the NDP will ultimately support the government as they are not in an election mood at the moment.
The NDP is well behind in the polls and they are the least attractive political party for Ontarians at the moment. By helping engineer an election, the Ontario NDP and its leader will only ensure their certain defeat and political humiliation -- or better yet, ensure the certain Premiership of Tim Hudak.