It’s amazing what getting creamed in an election and having an entire riding pissed at you for your high-handed ways will do to a party’s attitude to the big city.
“”Dalton McGuinty likes to blame others for his problems,” Flaherty told a somewhat bewildered business audience expecting a preview of the federal budget.” (Toronto Star, 10-03-08)
The former finance minister for Ontario under the Mike Harris Tories, the same party that never got rid of the province’s deficit, I might add, Jim Flaherty attacks the Premier, the man who beat his provincial party in the polls — do I detect a hint of sour grapes? — for financial incompetence. It’s rather strange that Prime Minister Stephen Harper let him speak as it was, but to let him go on and on about the business taxes in Ontario — which would not have to be so high if the other nine provinces, three territories, and Ottawa didn’t keep sucking the Ontario tax teat dry — and how it’s all the Liberals fault Ontario is tanking, never mind that Flaherty participated in the cancelling of the infrastructure and city-building projects when the Harris Tories came into power, is just unprecedented. After all, the PM is known for putting duct tape on the mouths of all federal Tories two years ago when they came into power.
So obviously Harper agrees with him.
Then suddenly we had the odd spectacle of Flaherty enthusiastically giving Toronto — that evil city, the blight of Canada — over $300 million for, gasp, transit! Yes, they’d promised some money over a year ago. But after all the belly aching about Toronto, and now Ontario, one hardly expected them to be serious and for Flaherty to be in the photo op. And to announce that the money is going towards hybrid buses is even more surprising. They really have been converted on the road to a hotter Damascus.
But have they?
I doubt it. Flaherty said a couple of days ago on television that the federal Conservatives needed to build in the 416. Whoa! I thought the Harper Tories figured they could win a majority sans Toronto. Isn’t that why they’ve watched as our city has sunk more and more into the mire of poverty? Isn’t that why they’ve blamed us and our politicians for our woes and troubles? Isn’t that why they haven’t followed the lead of their US mentors by funding transit and rebuilding infrastructure and giving us back some of the billions in taxes they suck out of us?
Apparently, that by-election they put off and put off and angered one riding by getting rid of the Tory candidate who’d been campaigning like a dog for months and then lengthened before finally getting it done, taught them a few things. They need cities. They need Toronto. And now they’re sucking up to us and kissing our asses. Former Conservative PM Brian Mulroney won several seats in Toronto. Some of elected became important members of his cabinet. That’s how he kept his political lock on the country. Whether the rest of the country likes it or not, Ontario is the engine of Canada — as Harper belatedly acknowledged yesterday on television, standing in front of kids’ drawings — and Toronto is the engine of Ontario. We are the biggest city in the country, we are its financial centre, we are the city the world knows best, and we support the country with billions of our bucks. We go down, you go down. I don’t believe that Harper and Flaherty get that yet. I believe that all this sudden new conciliatory attitude to my city, my province, is all to get votes in the election they’re trying to get going if only the Liberals would vote against them in one of those upteen bogus confidence motions they keep throwing out. Once they have their majority, they’ll ignore us again and go back to creating greater division between us and the rest of Canada. The best thing for Toronto is to keep them on a tight leash. Minority governments all the way because the Liberals ignore us too, just not in such a mean fashion.