I should, I think, offer some congratulations to our new Premier-designate, Ms. Kathleen Wynne. The only thing holding me back is my skepticism that her prize — the premiership of Ontario — is actually worth having.
The main reason I say this is (and there’s no getting round it) sooner or later, Ms. Wynne will have to call an election. And that means she, as Dalton McGuinty’s successor, will also be McGuinty’s kagemusha, to be the available target for Mr. McGuinty’s political sins. Things like ORNGE, a flailing program for funding alternative energy, flopping around on education … there’s enough anger, noticed even by the punditocracy covering Queen’s Park, that it won’t go away simply by plugging in a new light bulb at the top.
So it’s no surprise that Ms. Wynne won’t be going for an election this spring. You can make all the noises you like about her needing her own “mandate from the people”, but her task, right now, is to show everyone that she’s a good fit for the premier’s chair, and the best way for her to do that is to go through at least one session as premier. If she does it right, even if she winds up adopting Mr. McGuinty’s pet projects she’ll be able to convince the voters to judge her on her own merits, instead of as Mr. McGuinty’s stand-in.
She certainly has the right CV for it. Ten years’ experience as an MP, ministerial posts at Education, Transportation, Municipal Affairs and Aboriginal Affairs. If Justin Trudeau had that kind of résumé, the federal Liberals wouldn’t have bothered with a leadership convention. Granted, some experience with a fiscal-oriented portfolio would be nice, but so long as she doesn’t do anything to cause the cost of living in Ontario to spike, I think the voters will allow her a little benefit of the doubt.
So … perhaps not congratulations, but I will wish her good luck. I’m sure she’s going to need it.
(By the way, for those of you planning on comments, you’ll notice there’s a subject I haven’t touched on about Ms. Wynne, mainly because I don’t see that it’s relevant. I’d advise that you take the same approach.)