OTTAWA — It’s as plain as the nose on your face.
It’s so obvious it hardly bears saying.
But it’s why the decision facing Ontario voters on June 7 is so freaking difficult — or rather, she’s why.
Kathleen Wynne is so clearly heads and tails smarter, better informed and more capable than Doug Ford that it borders on the ridiculous.
The leading candidate to take her job has his appeal — a certain rough-and-readiness — and he’s a better extemporaneous speaker than is usually credited and is adored by those weary of big government.
But in most of the ways that should count, he simply shouldn’t even dare to hope to line up to carry Wynne’s briefcase.
Andrea Horwath may be somewhat more in Wynne’s league (in fairness, I’ve not seen her up close) but she comes with the perennial baggage (knapsacks, surely) of the New Democratic Party.
There are Ontarians who can’t bring themselves to vote NDP or who did that once (for former premier turned-Liberal sage Bob Rae) and, as with liver, never quite managed to acquire the taste.
(Wynne told the National Post in an interview Wednesday, “the NDP hasn’t had to be accountable for anything they’ve said” since 1995, when Rae was premier.)
As a colleague noted, this after we’d listened to Wynne deliver a routinely great speech that showed her command of the aerospace file particularly and more generally the grownup file, if you were interviewing the three candidates for a job, any job, there’s not a person around who wouldn’t hire her.
If Dalton McGuinty were still leading the Liberals, there’d be no qualms about throwing the bums out after almost 15 years in power.
And yet, and yet, Wynne makes that option painful, because she’s frankly so good.
As Bruce Callan, the operations manager at MHI Canada Aerospace and a self-confessed Conservative, cheerfully acknowledged of Wynne in a quiet moment, “She’s done some good things. She’s been good.”
But he’ll vote for Ford because he’s a Tory and he thinks it’s time for a change.
Wynne expected, even three weeks ago, that hunger for change would be a defining theme of the campaign, as it was in the last federal election.
But, she said, she thinks there’s a growing consensus that Ford wouldn’t be good for the province, and as the polls reflect, that’s meant the New Democrats are getting greater consideration and thus greater scrutiny.
She doesn’t dispute the two parties share much common ground but says the difference between them is the “ideological rigidity” that has the NDP, for instance, promising not to fund for-profit child care.
That would see the end of “thousands of spaces,” Wynne said, “and why would we not fund that?” Her grandkids attended a small for-profit child care. The ideology that dictates a black-and-white view of things isn’t for her; “that’s why I’m a Liberal.”
She’s aware of some of the reviews of her — that she’s aloof, or that she’s changed since she first ran (and lost) as a Toronto District School Board trustee, and that in some quarters, this has translated …read more