Second week of campaign getting more personal

As McGuinty puts Liberal focus on public schools, Conservatives take aim at health-care tax

From Monday's Globe and Mail

TORONTO — On a day when the Conservative campaign unveiled a Pinocchio-nosed Dalton McGuinty character, the real Ontario Liberal Leader was gearing up for a week when the campaign is likely to get even more personal.

This morning, Mr. McGuinty will address students at St. Augustine Catholic High School in Markham.

"He's going to directly address the reasons why we have to move forward with publicly funded education," a Liberal involved in the campaign said.

In public addresses and advertisements since the campaign began, the Liberal Leader has denounced a plan by Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory to fund private religious schools. Tory strategists have made much of the fact that Mr. McGuinty attended a Catholic school in his youth.

Today's stop will be his first visit to a Catholic school during the current campaign, and Mr. McGuinty is expected to defend "the public education system we have inherited," according to those inside the campaign.

With a debate scheduled for Thursday night, and the party leaders crossing paths at a plowing match in Crosby, Ont., tomorrow, the tone of the election has shifted gears in its second week.

The opening days of the campaign saw each party introduce its platform, with leaders crisscrossing the province to promote everything from hydrogen-powered trains to an increased minimum wage.

This week, they are more likely to be taking shots at each other's promises than making many of their own.

"We're anticipating very personal and negative attacks," a senior Liberal said.

At an event yesterday in Etobicoke, Ont., PC candidate Tim Hudak introduced the Dalton McGuinty 'I Need That Money Machine,' a campaign gimmick that will tour the province this week.

"It's about time Ontario had a premier who respects the money of hard-working Ontario voters," said Mr. Hudak as a costumed PC youth member pretended to scramble for loose bills. "It's time for a premier who keeps his word."

Today, Mr. Tory will be in Ottawa, where he will begin a week dedicated to highlighting "the impact of Dalton McGuinty's broken promises," according to a campaign insider.

Howard Hampton, leader of the provincial NDP, will be in the greater Toronto area today.

Yesterday's PC event took aim at a comment Mr. McGuinty made at a Sept. 7 campaign stop, when asked about his promise to review the 2004 health tax.

"His response was, 'I need that money,' '' Mr. Hudak said. "I would like to remind Dalton McGuinty that that money is not his."

Mr. McGuinty chose a day of relative quiet on the provincial election campaign trail yesterday to send a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper urging him to give Ontario more seats in the House of Commons to better reflect the province's swelling population.

The Liberal Leader first broached the subject in June, but decided to renew his request for at least 10 more seats after hearing Mr. Harper's speech to Australia's Parliament last week.

Mr. McGuinty is reportedly preparing to take the brunt of the attacks during this week's debate. Mr. Tory has had the benefit of doing numerous debates during his failed Toronto mayoral campaign, while the politically experienced Mr. Hampton is known to come out swinging in such forums.

"Tory is a skilled debater, and Hampton has won in the past just by being loud and belligerent," a Liberal insider said. "If Dalton's standing at the end of the debate, then we've accomplished our goal."

With a report from Canadian Press


Our commentary in the Globe and Mail

September 17, 2007

  1. You (Ottawa Mens, from Ottawa home of Canada's corrupt family court judges, Canada) wrote: Canada's negative population growth has yet to appear on the radar despite the fact that Canada has an official male gender apartheid policy that makes men second class human beings incapable of being equal parents. The issue of bias in our courts by judges making politically correct feminist decisions and illegal application of "tender year’s doctrine" can only be solved by parliament legislating a legal presumption of equal parenting. That of course will annoy any extreme feminist who does not want equality but superiority and woe betide any politician who has the courage to raise the issue. I don't see any of our politicians having the cojones to deal with Canada's most serious problem, that of a negative population growth and the increasing number of children being raised without a father. Now its cool to have two mothers but father appears to now be a censored word inappropriate word that has lots of negative meanings. 613-797-3237