Dalton McGuinty’s decision to scrap the West Lincoln Memorial rebuild says a lot about his government’s priorities. The way I see it, you can measure the Premier’s failure to do the right thing in two ways – in terms of values they reveal, and on their cost to taxpayers. Put them together and it really tells the tale of the McGuinty government.
Let’s face it: Much of what governments do in the delivery of basic services doesn’t change much, no matter which party is in power. things like roads, bridges, social programs and policing get delivered regardless. Maybe well, maybe poorly, but they happen all the same. What does change are the values different governments draw on to decide where to concentrate their efforts. Call it “leadership”. It’s what allows politicians to shape their communities, and their province – for better for for worse.
And it’s here that I believe Premier McGuinty has most failed residents of West Niagara. A quick look at some recent decisions illustrates the frustration we are all feeling.
In West Lincoln, Glanbrook and Wainfleet, Premier McGuinty’s priority is forcing unwanted industrial wind farms on us. These industrial wind farms are happening despite widespread opposition across the affected communities. That speaks to values. An annual bill to Ontario ratepayers of $75 million for the West Lincoln wind farm (totaling $1.5 billion over the life of the contract) to purchase its electricity, speaks to cost.
In Grimsby, Premier McGuinty’s values told him to build a fancy new building for LHIN bureacrats at an operating cost of $300 million province-wide. It’s right down the road from the $130 million hospital rebuild we all want so badly. You judge the values. You do the math.
In Oakville and Mississauga, Premier McGuinty started to build unpopular power plants and then cancelled them to save a couple of seats. Price tag: $1 billion for Oakville and a $300 million lawsuit for Mississauga.
These are Premier McGuinty’s values and priorities, together with their staggering cost. They are not my priorities and (and certainly not my idea of how to spend tax dollars) I don’t believe for one minute they are yours either. Imagine how many hospitals we could have built or improved for the billions Premier McGuinty is spending on industrial wind farms, cancelled power plants and LHINs. Never mind the billions more he squandered on things like eHealth, ORNGE, hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses and untendered contracts at the Niagara Parks Commission and Ontario Lottery and Gaming.
My priorities are creating jobs, growing our economy, eliminating waste, and getting our province back to a balanced budget. If we have a government focused on those priorities – instead of Dalton McGuinty’s – our province would have the means to invest in quality services that people depend on. Like the West Lincoln hospital rebuild.
As I said last time, thoughm this day will come, so let’s not give up. There’s a May 2nd rally at Grimsby Secondary School in support of the hospital. I’ll see you there.