Tory style plagues us since the bad days of Mike Harris

Frank Touby–

Toronto is plagued by Tories. First there were the Mike Harris Tories who broke our world-class city apart by forcing us to include suburban cities as part of Toronto.

Our smoothly functioning CityHome municipal housing program was demolished by merging it with the dysfunctional Metro and Ontario housing operations to become, in so many instances, a rodent- roach- and bed-bug infested Toronto Community Housing Corp. dump in disrepair plagued by drug dealers and various invaders from the streets.

That was due to Harris downloading provincial responsibilities onto the city he had destroyed, thus saving the province money it could use to provide bulging bonuses and salaries to high-ranking insider personnel at provincial crown corporations he dearly hoped to privatize.

Just as Kathleen Wynne has done to Toronto Hydro. She fulfilled Mike’s dream.

Among the legion of disgraceful offences Harris committed against Toronto and other cities in Ontario was to divorce his cabinet from oversight of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and free it to toady to the profit fantasies of developers against the interests of the citizenry, making the questionable OMB the real city planner in Ontario.

The Ontario Progressive Conservative Tories headed by Harris—who resigned in disgrace before his term ended, to become a deep-thinker at the Fraser Institute think tank—were replaced by a new set of Tories who call themselves Liberals.

They were headed by Dalton McGuinty, a developer-backed character whose campaign director hailed from a large Ontario housing developer family.

Would a Liberal return the OMB to oversight by elected municipal officials whose planning designs are a major part of their voter mandates? Undoubtedly a liberal would. Hopefully today a federal Liberal would; but certainly an Ontario Liberal would not.

Among his first acts in office, McGuinty let a developer slap up 900 houses on a huge chunk of the critical and already diminished Toronto watershed known as the Oak Ridges Moraine.

Tory-style McGuinty scandals were endemic. Profiteers ran Queens Park. E-Health was a costly boondoggle that still hasn’t produced anything.

A considerably cheaper and well-programmed Exel file likely would.

There was Ornge, the big-business dream of a former emergency-room doctor, Chris Mazza, that he was trying to metastasize into a private business spinoff selling what turned out to be defective medical helicopters.

They were so poorly designed for medical purposes that some types of emergencies couldn’t be handled by the emergency-response choppers.

Mazza left Ornge in disgrace but is still running free as opposition Ontario PC Tories demand his hide.

The windmill fantasy of exEnergy Minister, exHealth Minister (E-Health), exDeputy Premier George Smitherman (everything else) was a Don Quixote tale of blowing in the wind.

To be effective, we’d need constant high winds throughout the province. Windmills only work when there’s enough wind or some way of storing the juice. Otherwise they’re a massive waste and noisy intrusion on the landscape. How did that escape the Energy Minister’s purview?

Following the Mike Harris pattern of using Ontario taxpayers to plump up friendly big businesses, the McGuinty Tories tried on various fronts to do the same.

Inevitably the McGuinty corporatist disasters brought Dalton to the realization that it was time to follow Mike Harris to public disgrace but private benevolence (serving on corporate boards) with an early resignation from office. The stench eventually passes.

So Mike plods on as Fraser Institute’s deep-thinkerdnktank.

Next, Dalton bailed, so Kathleen Wynne followed him to Queen’s Park. Maybe a woman’s touch would turn things around.

Boondoggles, often known as provincial Crown corporations, aren’t supposed to be repositories for Liberal and PC largesse, but look at the hydro messes for examples.

These corporations have fat-cat boards and executives just rolling in taxpayer-funded riches while they engage in stupidities like massively expensive smart meters that irradiate the homes where they’re placed and run up costs instead of lowering them as it was promised they would do.

Has Wynne slashed those high-paying executive positions? Has she done anything to save Ontarians from greater expenses for electricity?

Oh, don’t be foolish. She has a better idea. Mike Harris wanted to do it, too.

Let’s sell a provincial electricity utility so it can add corporate profits to the high prices Ontarians already pay for their juice but it may bail out her dysfunctional regime for a while.

Mike wanted to have private-sector-style executive salaries, benefits and bonuses in the Hydro portfolio. Kathleen has managed to do that since all inappropriate munificence will be out of sight now that the current premier has acted against the Ontario public and blinded us to the truth.

Liberal, she and her inbred regime definitely are not. Nor, like Mike Harris, are they conservative.

A real conservative would serve the public in the most effective manner and operate the public’s utilities and properties to the public’s benefit. So would a real liberal.

What we’ve had are what Benito Mussolini, the World War II Italian dictator, termed “fascism.”

It simply means the merger of domineering transnational corporate power with state power. How can we consider that what Harris, McGuinty and Wynne have done is anything else?

Maybe the NDP can be the genuine conservatives or liberals Ontario voters hoped they would get when casting their ballots for the previous fascist trio of Ontario premiers.