Frank Klees

Frankly Speaking


Article by Frank Klees, MPP
As published In the Auroran

June 19, 2012

A Provincial Election on July 19th ?

Two tightrope acts were played out over this past weekend.  One was high above the treacherous waters and rocks of the  Niagara Falls Gorge and the other was orchestrated in the media studio at Queen's Park.

Nik Wallenda's historic walk across Niagara Falls took twenty-six minutes, and despite swirling winds and the threatening mist of the falls, he never had to rely on his safety tether.  One step at a time, he did what he promised to do while millions watched worldwide.

At the Queen's Park event, it was Dalton McGuinty and Andrea Horwath who were starring in their own tightrope performance.  They took their first steps out onto that high wire following what was reported to be a terse phone call between the two this past Thursday.  Dalton accused Andrea of breaking her promise to support the Liberal budget, and Andrea insisted that she always reserved the right to make changes.  The Premier threatened to call an election.  Ms. Horwath called it "a bump in the road".  And so, the happy marriage between the McGuinty Liberals and the Horwath New Democrats was on the rocks.

What happened on the way back from the altar ?

The so-called political marriage was consummated on April 23rd.  The dowry demanded by the NDP was a new tax on people earning more than $500,000 a year and a number of other concessions primarily related to social services.  The Premier boasted that he was making his "major minority" work and set about cobbling together his budget bill, fully expecting the NDP to cooperate getting it passed.

The legislation was tabled in the legislature, and it didn't take long for the NDP to realize that it contained a number of measures that they could not support, and they made a point of saying so on numerous occasions.  This past week, they put forward amendments that either changed, or in some cases deleted entire sections of the bill.

What outraged the Premier, is the fact that the PC's supported a number of those amendments that focused on the lack of proper oversight and accountability.  One example is the section relating to changes to the arbitration system, which failed to include the "ability to pay" provisions that PC's have insisted are necessary to curb the out of control government spending.

Dalton McGuinty's "major minority" came to a screeching halt !

For the first time since the October 6th election, the Premier has to face the fact that he does not have a majority government.  And for the first time, Dalton McGuinty is getting a sense of what it's like to be on the receiving end of broken promises.

From the outset, the PC position on the budget has been clear.  In a meeting with the Premier on November 18th last year, Tim Hudak stressed that unless the budget included a meaningful job creation strategy, measures to strengthen Ontario's economy and a legislated commitment to reduce Ontario's debt, the Official Opposition could not  support the budget.  That has been the consistent position of the PC Caucus.  The Premier dismissed those recommendations and began his courtship of Andrea Horwath and the NDP.

What both the Premier and Ms Horwath are realizing now, is that a friendly conversation does not a deal make.  We have also learned that their historical deal was never put in writing, and so we'll never really know what was said and what was intended.  What we do know, is that the Premier has threatened an election if he doesn't get his way.

My prediction........There will not be an election any time soon.

The Finance Committee will be conducting votes on the budget bill throughout Monday and Tuesday. Dalton McGuinty and Andrea Horwath will be performing their tightrope act and will find a way to make up.  The legislature will vote on the budget on Wednesday.  The 36 PC members will vote against the budget, the 52 Liberal members will vote for the budget and the 17 NDP members will sit on their hands and not vote.  The budget will pass.

And so, the reckless spending will continue, our debt will keep growing, unemployment - especially among young people - will get worse, and health care will become unsustainable.  Thank you Mr. McGuinty and Ms Horwath.

As for my prediction, I'm sure I'll hear from you if we're thrown into an election by Wednesday afternoon.

As always, you can contact me through my website at or by calling 905 750 0019.