Well so much for Premier Wynne’s public image as the great mediator and conciliator. And as an honest politician.
Since Wynne’s election as Liberal party leader, and thus automatically Premier, though unelected, her office with the help of a compliant liberal press, The TorontoStar, have tried to promote Wynne’s image as distinct from the more inflexible and authoritarian Dalton McGuinty.
At least McGuinty in his last year as premier, where he tried to take a hard line against the teachers and their unreasonable salary and pension demands and their outrageous unused, but bankable sick days.
Firstly, Wynne, being a woman politician, portrayed herself as being more flexible, patient, non-confrontational and conciliatory, than her male counterparts. Especially McGuinty, who became characterized as, it is “my way or the highway”, type of political leader.
For example, in her negotiations over the budget with NDP Andrea Horwath, Wynnespent countless weeks back and forth with Horwath patiently trying to craft a budget with enough financial goodies to meet Horwath’s ever changing demands and secure Horwath’s and the NDP’s support.
Similarly, unlike McGuinty, Wynne apparently spent a good deal of time and effort negotiating with and reaching an agreement with the elementary school teachers.
Then again, McGuinty froze teachers’ wages and vowed to hold the line on future teachers’ wages and impliedly cut back on teachers’ benefits.
In contrast, Wynne apparently opened the Ontario bank once again, and gave the teachers a 2% increase, well above what the Government could afford.
So in this context , to characterize Wynne’s style as being compromising and flexible, is a gross misnomer.
Basically, Wynne once again bought off the teachers with money that the Ontario government did not have and could not afford to pay. That is not being flexible. That is being fiscally irresponsible.
But when Mayor Ford met with Finance Minister Sousa on Monday, June 24, to discuss various options regarding the proposed $150 million cut back to social housing, Wynne showed her real and true face.
Wynne’s true face is one of a hard, calculating, insensitive and arrogant political leader, who may be the least trustworthy political leader in Canada today.
Recall that although Wynne was Co-Chairman of the Liberal Party’s election campaign in 2011, she claimed that she was not responsible for the gas plant cancellation, because she was not in the meeting that decided to cancel a gas plant during the election in order to save some Liberal seats.
That was a real doozy.
Wynne reminds me of the attractive but conniving Queen played by Susan Sarandon, in the Disney film, “Enchanted”. Who at the end of the film, is shockingly revealed as a horrifying cold-hearted monster.
This may come as a shock to many readers and Ontario voters, but not to this writer.
So it did not surprise me that when Mayor Ford publicly stated that the City of Toronto had a commitment from the Liberal Government to fund public housing until 2018, Premier Wynne fudged the truth, not once, not twice, but at least three times. And she is still fudging the truth today.
Firstly, through Sousa, Wynne’s position was that there was no agreement or commitment until 2018.
Fortunately, an actual written letter was discovered by Liberal Councilman Shelley Carroll. Also fortunately, for Toronto, Carroll retained a copy.
The Ontario Premier’s office in recent times, has been known to delete or destroy documents and emails.
When Carroll presented this letter as definitive evidence, Wynne’s position through Sousa, was that this letter was just a projection or an option, not an actual commitment to keep paying.
When that did not fly, Wynne’s position through Sousa was that Toronto alternatively was still ahead financially, because Ontario had decided to waive repayment of the $200 million loan owed by it to the province.
But that also proved to be an untruth, according to Toronto city manager Pennachetti,since the province had permitted Toronto to forgo making interest payments for many years. In effect, by its actions, years ago, the Ontario Liberal government had already waived repayment of the loan.
But it gets worse.
According to a recent Globe and Mail article, Wynne and the Liberal Government have been planning on cutting back on its funding of Toronto social housing , not for a week or two weeks, but a whole year ago.
As reported in the Globe,
“City hall and Queen’s Park sources, however, said the province never intended to negotiate over the cancelled funds. The government has been considering making the cut for more than a year — even going so far as to run it by the Liberal caucus’s Toronto members — and was firm in its decision, the sources said. They added that the province just wanted a meeting with city officials to explain the reasoning behind the move. This firm position came as a surprise to the city.”
So Wynne as a senior Cabinet Minister knew about these proposed cutbacks for over a year.
In my books, an omission is just as bad as a lie.
So in the last provincial election, Wynne and her party lied to the Ontario people when she conveniently omitted that if re-elected the Liberal government would cut $150 million from its committed and agreed upon funding to Toronto social housing.
In addition, when the Toronto City Council was trying to craft its budget in December and January of this year, its budget was based upon continued funding by the Ontario government of a certain portion of Toronto’s social housing costs.
But Wynne could not be honest with Toronto City Council because she was still in the midst of saving her minority government for another year.
So Vanna, how many lies on the Wynne Wheel of Misfortune?
It is also interesting to note that apparently Mayor Rob Ford attended on Finance Minister Sousa with the best of intentions to seek a reasonable and face-saving diplomatic solution.
As reported by the Toronto Sun, prior to his meeting with Sousa, Ford stated,
“They’ve got to find efficiencies,” said Ford, who is still optimistic there will be a successful resolution to the money squabble.
But unfortunately, for Mayor Ford, the City of Toronto, and those Toronto residents in public housing, the die had already been cast months and months ago.
Wynne had decided to cut off government funding of Toronto social housing at the knees, and there was no changing her mind.
However, sensing that this sudden unilateral decision may have serious political consequences, in previously solid Toronto Liberal ridings, on Monday, Wynne tried to shift the blame to Ford by stating that Sousa’s chief of staff had tried to reach out to Mayor’s chief of staff a few weeks ago, but because of Ford’s other troubles, Sousa’s aide never heard from the Mayor’s office. Again, as if this decision, which was made over a year ago, was Ford’s fault.
Clearly, the die had been cast months and months ago.
Lies, more lies and lies upon lies.
So for all you downtown Toronto smug elitist Ford haters, it is very clear that even the so-called more sophisticated and more worldly Harvard-educated and lawyer-trained former Mayor David Miller, could not have moved the intransigent and uncompromising Wynne.
Who has also taken mendacity to a whole new level in Ontario politics.