A few hours after the NDP stood with poppies in their lapels to honour aboriginal veterans, the NDP demonstrated that their sacrifice entitled current legislators the luxury of sitting on their hands and not voting for or against a Progressive Conservative motion. The motion introduced by PC Leader Tim Hudak was a non-binding, non-confidence motion that read as follows:
“To recognize that the Premier and the Liberal government put their political interests ahead of taxpayers interests by cancelling the Mississauga and Oakville gas plants during the 2011 election and failing to provide taxpayers with the true costs; to recognize that the Premier bears responsibility for the gas plant cancellations and the waste of $1.1 billion; and therefore, it is the opinion of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario that Ontarians no longer trust the Premier and the Liberal government. Addressed to the Premier of Ontario.”
There were a few children present in the legislature as Wednesday was ‘take your kids to work day’ for Grade 9 students across the province. These children witnessed adults hiding in their offices or leaving the building to avoid having to make a difficult decision and vote. A great lesson for our children.
During the debate leading up to the vote, the NDP engaged in a two-step dance. At first the NDP criticized the Conservatives for “goofing around …spitting nickels” and for refusing to make the minority parliament work thereby disrespecting the wishes of the Ontario voters.
Then the NDP danced to the other side of the argument. The NDP attacked the Liberals for their gas plant scandal and at times stating that it was the Liberals and PCs who were colluding over the ‘Ellis Don’ legislation. During the debate the NDP did not disagree with the wording of the “pretend motion”.
It was a performance worthy of television’s “Dancing With The Stars” minus the stars. In the end only five NDP MPPs showed up to sit on their hands and not vote. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath decided not to be present in the Legislature.
Earlier in the day after Question Period, NDP Leader Horwath was coy with the media when asked how her party would vote. As it turns out, she was telling Ontarians how she would vote by not answering the question.
The NDP have not been the only legislators sitting on their hands. Earlier this week some Liberal and Conservative Senators in Ottawa decided not to vote on the motion suspending the “Senate Trio.” These unaccountable, unelected legislators apparently had no opinion on the motions. That’s why the taxpayers pay them the big bucks… to go to Ottawa, debate the motion for hours and then sit on their hands because they either cannot make a decision or they do not want to offend their colleagues and Canadians.
Time will tell if Andrea Horwath’s strategy will backfire in Ontario. On Thursday the NDP will stand-up in the legislature to ask questions however they have now lost the moral ground to continue to question the Premier on the $1.1 billion gas plant boondoggle. It is too late.
By not voting for the motion, the NDP must believe that: a) the Liberals did not put their interests ahead of the taxpayers by cancelling the Mississauga and Oakville gas plants during the 2011 election; b) the Liberals provided Ontarians with the true costs of the cancellation of the plants; c) the Premier bears no responsibility for the gas plant cancellations and the $1.1 billion waste; and d) they continue to trust the Premier and the Liberal government.
The PCs picked the music and forced the NDP to dance. The NDP decided to dance with the Liberals.