It should be a crime for Premier Dalton McGuinty to open his mouth during election campaigns. The Liberal leader has done more to erode voter trust in politicians than any Canadian before him.
The decision to sell off the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, announced shamefully via media teleconference from Sudbury Friday morning, adds another car to a long train of broken promises.
He even left it to Sudbury MPP Minister of Northern Destruction Rick Bartolucci to break the news. In April 2002, McGuinty stopped in North Bay to bolster the campaign of then Grit candidate George Maroosis during the byelection against Conservative Al McDonald.
The Grit leader loved to sign contracts back then. He signed a contract promising the people of Nipissing he wouldn’t sell the provincial agency.
McDonald eventually beat Maroosis to fill the Nipissing seat at Queen’s Park vacated by former Tory premier Mike Harris.
But McGuinty took power the next year on a wave of similar pledges, including another famous contract in which he promised not to raise taxes. I guess it was only a matter of time before the ONTC would get tossed under the bus.
Here are a few quotes you may remember from a decade ago:
• “We won’t raise people’s taxes, we’ll keep our budgets balanced, but we don’t think we should be putting another $2 billion into companies, another $1/2 billion into private schools,” McGuinty said April 10, 2002.
• “ONTC provides services which are vital to the North’s economy and we will not allow it to be privatized,” McGuinty said March 31, 2003.
You can’t blame any Conservative for stepping forward and saying, “We told you so.”
Ontario Northland unions, Liberals and New Democrats had spent more than four years fighting the Tory plan to sell off parts of the ONTC.
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