Divided we fall

So it looks as though we’re going to have a provincial election in Ontario, triggered by the NDP’s refusal to support the budget put forward by the minority Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne. As the recent Quebec experience shows, what happens during an election campaign can matter a great deal. Still, it’s hard to figure out what is going through NDP leader Andrea Horwath’s mind, looking at the latest poll:



(h/t Three Hundred Eight)

There’s a lot wrong with the current situation, and the current government, but it’s hard to see how any of the likely outcomes would constitute an improvement from the NDP’s perspective. (Personally I think a PC government is the most likely outcome at this point.) The only insight I can find is in the following CP wire story:

Several large labour groups, including the Unifor union and the Ontario Federation of Labour, urged the NDP to pass the budget and avoid an election, but public sector unions complained the fiscal plan puts jobs at risk.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union — which has been in a tough labour fight with the Liberals — said they support Horwath’s call to go to the polls.

Despite the left-leaning goodies in the budget, such as a proposed Ontario pension plan, the Liberals can’t be trusted, said OPSEU president Warren “Smokey” Thomas.

There needs to be an election, even if it runs the risk of producing a right-wing Progressive Conservative government that “hates unions” and will tear down the province’s public services, he said.

This is, needless to say, extremely damaging to the NDP. It seems to me that, if you’re trying to get people to trust you to form a government, and to represent their interests, OPSEU is the last group that you want to have in your corner. The perception that they’re dictating your strategy is political poison.

I’d be glad to hear other theories. Comments anyone?

For my previous discussion of the ideological positioning of the parties in Ontario, see here.


Divided we fall — 1 Comment

  1. Practically speaking, Horwath probably didn’t want to be seen to support a ‘scandal plagued’ party – maybe she thought her prospects could only get worse by waiting. Otherwise, given the distinct NDP-flavour of this budget, voting it down in order to have a slight chance of doing pretty much the same thing is confusing, to say the least.

    On a side-note, with respect to pensions, it’s a sad day for people who want a cheap method of insuring themselves against the risk of outliving their retirement savings by risk-pooling and a great day for those who want to pay more (or not save at all) in order to gamble that they know how long they’re going to live.

    In other words, negative freedom/”freedom to” (potentially eat cat food in retirement) beat out positive freedom/”freedom from” (income insecurity in retirement). Hopefully it’s just the battle and not the war.