Saturday, October 06, 2007

Why Howard Hampton and the NDP Deserve Your Support on Wednesday

Now that the irksome issue of public funding for faith based schools is off the table and Conservative leader John Tory is suffering from a self-inflicted wound on that score, it is time for progressive voters to decide whom to support. The big, bad wolf of a return to Mike Harris’ party, even in the form of John Tory’s Little Red Riding Hood, is not at the door. No one needs to vote Liberal to keep the beast at bay.

Does Dalton McGuinty deserve the votes of progressive Ontarians?

I think not. Under Liberal rule, Ontario has continued to veer in the direction of a society that is ever more divided between the rich and the rest. While McGuinty can claim to have slowed the Common Sense Revolution launched by Mike Harris, he has not halted and reversed it. The Liberals have talked a good line about education, health care, the environment and the cities and have delivered little. Class sizes are too large, the erosion of public health care continues in the form of new private hospitals, no serious environmental plan has been implemented, and our cities are falling into disrepair and are in desperate new of a reformed tax system. It is all well and good for Dalton McGuinty to point toward major public transit schemes for the future. But he has wasted the past four years.

While the Liberals slowed the march toward higher tuition fees, the reprieve is over, and fees are going up again. Many of my students cannot afford to attend university full-time. We are tilting back toward the days when universities were preserves of the well-to-do.

Ontario needs a truly progressive government.

Howard Hampton is the leader to deliver it. He combines sanity with dogged determination and the NDP has its programmatic priorities right. When Hampton says that no one in Ontario should be expected to work for less than $10 an hour, who can disagree? It is a disgrace that McGuinty is prepared to wait three more years to raise the minimum wage to that level. How can anyone take seriously the wailing business interests, their pockets bulging with profits, who claim they will be grievously wounded by an immediate rise in the minimum wage? Only the most supine of governments would buy into this theory that Ontario’s problem is that the poor have too much money and the rich don’t have enough.

On the environment, Hampton has unveiled a plan that emphasizes conservation and renewable energy. The alternative to it is huge new investments in nuclear power, the route both the Liberals and the Conservatives would be bound to take.

On education, Hampton alone is committed to saving the public school system which is presently suffering a slow death because of inadequate funding. And he alone understands that the next few years will determine whether post-secondary education is to be open to everyone or simply the privileged.

Hampton has also looked into the future, beyond the economic sheen of the moment and understands the grave threat to Ontario’s manufacturing sector. The province is losing tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs. The centre of heavy manufacturing is being dangerously hollowed out. To those, such as McGuinty and Tory, who believe that the market is always right, there is no real concern about this. A job lost in one sector will be replaced in another they think. When the debt-ridden US economy is forced to go through a period of purging---and that time is not far off---Ontario is going to be hit with an economic sledge hammer. We need political leaders who know that only foolish people let their basic industries collapse. A stronger NDP after election day will give our industrial cities and workers a much needed voice.

The NDP leader was right the other day to challenge the jaded media of the province for failing to think about the problems of the people who are not having it so good. Seniors in shabby retirement homes and children living below the poverty line in immigrant families don’t get a lot of attention from newspapers and broadcasters who have moved so far to the right that they have little in common with the concerns and thinking of most Ontarians.

Howard Hampton brings the debate back to the realities of the lives of the majority of the population. He deserves to be premier after October 10. Failing that, we need him in place heading up a powerful caucus that could force a minority Liberal government to match its rhetoric with deeds.

11 comments:

janfromthebruce said...

That's right. McGuinty said, promised on 2003 he would fix the funding formula. He did not. He tinkered around the edges, provided one-time grants, let boards cut programs, and than bought labour peace. Bottom line, that money didn't go to kids, most boards will use it to get out of the red.
Bottom line - stated to boards he would REVIEW the flawed funding formula in 2010 - not fix but review.
So all that talk about fixing Harris' funding formula was not on.

Mark Francis said...

It's not whether or not these are progressive ideas which deserve attention, it's whether or not the NDP, if they were in power, would actually follow through.

Their "platform" this time around is non-existent. Implementing what they are talking about appears to be extremely expensive, and yet, I've not seen a costing plan from the NDP. It's easy to promise what you know you'll never have to deliver.

Many Ontarians have not forgotten the fiscal mess the Tories left for the Liberals. Some of us still remember the fiscal mess the NDP left us, which is what lead Ontario to voting Harris in.

Rae's government promised much progress as well, and failed to deliver.

I like dippers on a personal level, and carry many of the same torches (My wife and I have kids, are living on inadequate OSAP while I still work, have one child in full-time daycare and we are tenants), but the party just isn't viable and its policy promises don't tend to survive scrutiny.

janfromthebruce said...

Their municipal policy was lauded by the Toronto Star and by an opinion writer in this weeks paper.
As for the context of the Rae govt, let's see the Liberal Peterson govt said the books were in the black but of course, they lied and were not.
Rae and the NDP got the opportunity to govern during the worst recession since the depression. Every provincial govt was in deficit, including Liberal and/or conservative govts alike. The federal govt of conservative was also in deficit. Funny how the NDP got singled out.
Of course, if we look across the provinces, it was a NDP govt of Sask (cleaned up another con mess) and was the 1st province to get out of deficit. Funny those optics.

janfromthebruce said...

And talking about not being ready to govern, Mark,you were a Green party member before your recent conversion to the liberal fold, to follow Kate Holloway.
I was in the riding on the weekend for the festivities, and I was a ton or orange signs and few, in fact, just one, for Kate. Just the campaign going?

northwestern_lad said...

Mark... If you haven't seen the fully costed NDP platform that's because you haven't been looking hard enough. The entire platform was costed out and comes in with a balanced budget. To say that "it's easy to promise what you know you'll never have to deliver" is just cynical crap on your part, and being as how you turned from the Greens, I bet you have to pour on the rhetoric pretty thick so that the Liberals truly believe you are with them.

As for fiscal mess, there was a major recession and that was no ones fault in the province. The Rae governments did their best to save services while trying to mitigate the effects of said recession.

rob said...

How can anyone take seriously the wailing business interests, their pockets bulging with profits, who claim they will be grievously wounded by an immediate rise in the minimum wage? Only the most supine of governments would buy into this theory that Ontario’s problem is that the poor have too much money and the rich don’t have enough.

A lot of the reason why the NDP haven't gained any traction is tired class-warfare rhetoric like that.

Raising the minimum wage isn't as simple as taking money from the rich to give to the poor. Raising minimum wage just raises the business expenses of businesses that rely on minimum wage labour, which is then (in some mix) passed on to the consumer, taken out of profits, or used as an excuse to grind down labour costs in other ways, depending on the industry.

Anonymous said...

"The survey indicates the Liberals are getting a lift at the expense of the NDP, with women voters in particular moving to get behind the ruling Grits."

http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/News/National/2007/10/02/4542849-sun.html

Can anyone explain why dippers want to give Dalton a majority?
Is Dolton’s platform more credible than Howie’s?

ON the upside, The NDP held up pretty good on Democracy's Watch report card.

http://www.dwatch.ca/camp/RelsOct0507.html


The Liberals got and F but have most voter support. What don’t we understand?

Freshwater Mermaid said...

"Raising the minimum wage isn't as simple as taking money from the rich to give to the poor. Raising minimum wage just raises the business expenses of businesses that rely on minimum wage labour, which is then (in some mix) passed on to the consumer, taken out of profits, or used as an excuse to grind down labour costs in other ways, depending on the industry."

Okay, the thing about this "logic" is that it fails to address the necessity of consumers who can afford products produced by the industries in an economy. When workers can afford the products they create, some of which fall into the category of basic necessities, the economy becomes partially self-sustaining. This helps to inoculate the industries in a region against sudden changes in foreign markets and provides a stability desirable to stockholders of the non-cowboy variety who want long-term gains rather than short term gains after which they sell all at once creating a shock to the market.

When industries are forced to accept standards such as those we find in health and safety practices, it is usually uncomfortable, unpleasant, and the tune they sing tends to be the same along the lines of "we know best how to manage ourselves" and the ever-popular "what have you done for us lately?" An acceptable minimum-wage is not only good for industries that must stabilize their growth to attract investors, it is simply good business. No-one benefits from having a few impoverished workers who can't purchase their own products, who indeed can't purchase homes or save money because their income is so drastically below that which is necessary to survive on. Such people tend to cost more to the provinces and countries in other ways due to the need to use social programs to survive rather than make purchases for services they wish to use.

As you have probably guessed, I feel strongly that the country needs a standard minimum wage. There are many reasons for this, but at the moment, you need only to look at rich economies struggling in credit limbo right now due to the inability of normal wage-working citizens to afford their own properties and services without risky credit. There is no excuse for North America to prevent impoverished and lower-middle class citizens from making a proper wage.

It's good for our industries and it's good for ourselves.

James Laxer said...

Sometimes it's worth having an argument about economic theory and sometimes it's not. When it comes to the need to raise the minimum wage right now to $10 an hour in a place as rich as Ontario, it's not. The society can afford it. Let's get on with it. In advocating this, we are not starting a class war, we are responding to the class war that has been so successfully waged against the majority by a few.

Ryan said...

I'm no radical, but yeah, any mention of "class warfare" is immediately shot down by right wingers and so-called "centrists" as "tired rhetoric" with these people. Whether Rob likes it or not, the poor and lower middle classes need to fight to keep their fair share, and unfortunately it's the rich that wants that share. Look at our "booming" economy. The North American economy is apparently richer than it's ever been, yet real wages have slowly been decreasing, at least since the FTA. Where's the money go? Class warfare? Certainly there's got to be class struggle because without that struggle there's a good chance any gains working people can make politically can be repealed at the first opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Tories do not really care about people. They care about power and money and they answer to who rules society. Tories and most liberals are agents of big business and represent them. They bo not care about peoples's right and human rights even though they may claim to. They even send people to war to die for business interests and call it fighting for democracy and freedom.

From the Hammer