The member for Burlington in a position to make history for province and city by crossing the floor.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON October 7, 2011  – We said at the beginning of this election that for the Liberals to win the Tory voters had to sit on their hands and some of the New Democrats had to hold their noses and vote Liberal.  Neither of those things happened in Burlington and the city is basically where it was when this all started – a women representing the riding who is younger than the one we have and in need of a mentor to show her the way around the Legislature.

The Lady Jane is on her own now – even though there are people who know Queen`s Park exceptionally well,  who talk of mentoring Jane McKenna, she would be wise to seek her own counsel an not let any of those who have been that route take her under their wing.

It was our view that McKenna was woefully unqualified for the job she now has, but she is the member for Burlington and we accept the will of the voters.

McKenna could of course make a name for herself and change the course of history in Ontario by giving Dalton McGuinty a call and crossing the floor of the Legislature to sit as a Liberal.  The party would be grateful and groom her as a parliamentary secretary and promise that if she could learn that job she would be made a junior cabinet minister in a couple of years.

The Legislature needs to elect a Speaker.  The Liberals just have to sit tight and not put up any candidates and let the other parties fight it out for the job. The Speaker doesn`t vote – except in a tie vote but if The Lady Jane crosses the floor there will never be any tie votes. McGuinty would have the government he needs to run the province the way it needs to be run for four more years.

Laura Secord, who came from a part of the province just to the west of Burlington,  and look at what she did for the province ?  Possibilities here Jane.  Think about it.

Assuming you do cross the floor,  you would do so on the condition that McGuinty give you an unconditional guarantee that the hospital will be funded – do that and you`ll have the seat until you are well into your eighties.  You might manage to beat Hazel McCallion`s record for political longevity.

Give Regional Chair Gary Carr a call, he was once the Speaker at Queen’s Park,  – he`ll tell you what you have to do to cross the floor.  He`ll forgive you changing your political colours if you get the hospital for Burlington.  While you`re at it – ensure as well that roads don`t get built through the Escarpment – and gosh they just might put up a statue of you somewhere in Spencer Smith Park.

We are looking at a possible Great Moments in Ontario history here Lady Jane.

Minority governments have worked for Ontario before and with a strong enough Liberal government in place to put up a good Cabinet things will go well for the province.  Ted McMeekin may well get a phone call from the Office of the Premier and be asked to return to Cabinet now that Sophia Aggelonitis is no longer a member of the Legislature.  She took a real drubbing whereas Ted McMeekin did just fine up against a very popular public personality.

The Liberal government of course does have a situation on its hands.  It didn`t  quite have a majority when things settled down for the evening and everyone went home.  There might be some recounts, there might be a seat that slips from one side to the other but that isn`t something the Liberals want to count on.

Ted Chudleigh, representing the northern part of the city is going to have to cultivate his soil a little more attentively – don`t think he expect Indira Naidoo-Harris to do quite as well as she did.  Chudleigh is an old hand at the game and if he polishes the apples a little more and delivers something for his riding he should be all right next time around.

Redistribution, which will be in place for the next federal election and if this new Ontario government can stay alive for a four year term that redistribution will apply to the province – so both Halton and Burlington will see changes in their boundaries for the next election.

And that next time could be sooner than we want.  If we end up with a minority government its days will be numbered.  We have a very spunky leader of the New Democratic Party in place and she is going to make Tim Hudak, who will be Leader of the Opposition, wonder at times if he really has that job.  Andrea Horwath has found her mojo and she won`t be doing any backing down.

Tim Hudak has some serious re-thinking to do on some of the positions he took during the election.  Ontario has a number of very serious financial problems to deal with.   This is not the time for the Opposition to be obstructionist.

But it could be the time for a woman who does have one very strong personality trait going for her – the woman has chutzpah – this is time to let it really work for you, for the city and the province Jane McKenna.

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The party or the person ? Burlington gets to look at how they have voted in the past. Will old habits change ?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 4, 2011 –  This is the part of the week you get to think about who you are going to vote for.  On Thursday when you go to the polls, you get to act on the decision you make.

Let’s talk about the thinking you are going to do.  Will you vote for the party or the person ?  If you decide at this point that you will vote for the party no matter what – well then you’re some kind of an idiot or at best an irresponsible citizen.

Political parties, like any other organization, have to be held accountable by both the voters and the members of that political party.  It is irresponsible to vote for a party because you have always voted for them.  Paddy Torsney, the former Liberal member of parliament for Burlington learned the hard way what voters do with a political party they no longer trust.

Most people, once they`ve thought about it, find a political party that reflects their views on the way society should be ordered.  And if you`re at all active in your community you support that party with a financial contribution and perhaps take a lawn sign.

And should the party you support deviate from its core principles, a sensible, rationale person would withdraw their support.  If the local political party association forgets what its job is and puts forward an unqualified candidate the rationale human being would withdraw their support. There are occasions when the party is critically important.  Is that the case today in Burlington.  This city has elected conservatives since 1943 – and what does the city have to show for that support.  Certainly not a hospital and the conservatives are talking about significant changes to the geography of the northern part of the city.

The hospital we have is in desperate need of an upgrade and it needs much better funding.  One floor of the hospital isn`t even open – because the President of the hospital can`t get the funding he needs to open up the beds on the floor of the hospital that is closed.  The current member and the member before her didn`t do all that much for the hospital.  The hospital got so run down and so difficult to keep clean that it had a serious C.difficile outbreak that resulted in the loss of more than 90 lives.  That kind of funding failure in any community is criminal.

If the member of the Legislature or the House of Commons cannot deliver for the community then you might want to look for a person who can deliver.  A member who sits in the opposition seats isn`t exactly a cripple – they have a telephone and they can make phone calls and badger the bureaucrats until they do something for you.

While being part of the government certainly has its advantages – it doesn`t solve all the problems.  What a community needs is a member of the Legislature or the House of Commons who understands the community, cares about the community and has the smarts to get the job done.

Running for city council and winning a seat at that level is usually part of the job training that a person goes through as they progress through the ranks.  Nothing wrong with that.  Having someone who is immersed in politics is a plus for a community.  The person believes and loves the job – and it is people like that who deliver for the community.

Is it the person or the party ?  You always have that choice.  And right now Burlington has two very good choices if you take the view that the person matters.  If you take the view that the party is what really matters – then you have a choice for a candidate that will have a very long learning curve and there is no assurance at all that the candidate has the capacity to make it through that curve.

The party or the person?


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