Tim Hudak you had one job.
Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horwath were tripping over each other with their poorly-costed tax-and-spend frivolity.
Wynne, never tested in a campaign; and Horwath, the ever-affable third place finisher.
Wynne inherited the ongoing legacy of the billion-dollar boondoggle that was the gas plant scandal; and Horwath, who had propped up the government until it was no longer politically expedient.
And you, Tim Hudak, all you had to do was lay back and reap the rewards.
All voters wanted was a no-nonsense solution that didn’t make them want to pluck their own eyeballs out in frustrated political apathy.
And what did you do, Tim?
You threatened to fire 100,000 people.
You didn’t offer that not-so-bad austerity that involves the mythical math of ‘attrition.’
No, he said: 25,000 jobs, every year, for four years.
100,000 people is roughly 10% of the work force. This, he says, isn’t including the roughly 200,000 health care workers, who are exempt. So that means considerably deeper cuts into education, social services and, well, everything else.
Maybe you’re right, Tim. Maybe Ontario is a smoking fiscal crater run by stumps. Maybe our debt is so off-puttingly bad that corporations would rather headquarter in Quebec than here. Maybe this province’s spending problem is out-of-control to the point where a post-Soviet Eastern Bloc country would clutch their pearls.
But here’s a hot tip: voters don’t react well when you threaten to shoot them in the face.
Take Tasha Kheiriddin: life-long conservative, and already-sold member of Hudak’s base. Except, Hudak’s pink-slip-bender has hit close to home — it will mean that her daughter’s education goes from bad to worse. There’s a lost vote.
And Jesse Kline called out that position as hypocritical, and he’s right. But here’s the thing about politics — whether you’re a champagne socialist or a libertarian who likes having roads, your ideology only extends as far as your quality of life. If government policies make your life worse, you can’t vote for them. It’s hypocritical, and entirely of human nature.
That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, it means that you have to do it wisely.
Take Stephen Harper — an ideological with political acumen. His hack-and-slash routine has resulted in considerably few instances of the Canadian quality of life declining. What’s more, he’s coupled his austerity measures with growth tactics and tax cuts — so, for just about every member of Canadian society, things have gotten better.
For those few instances where that hasn’t happened — refugees, say, or veterans — he’s been raked across the coals, and rightfully so.
So back to the getting-shot-in-the-face metaphor, Tim. Maybe you should put the gun down.
It’s not too late for a campaign reboot. Walk away from firing a tenth of the civil service — replace it, perhaps, with a suggestion that you’ll look for a 5% reduction in the bureaucracy by way of attrition. Maybe walk away from those corporate tax cuts that you haven’t entirely costed out yet.
Instead, offer voters stability. Maybe it won’t result in ONE MILLION JOBS (though, it doesn’t look like your plan will either) but it promises a steady, responsible path forward.
Because you’ll never create ONE MILLION JOBS if you stay in opposition.
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