Friday, November 25, 2011

Minority Governments, How We Missed You...

Today marks the first defeat of the Ontario Liberals in the legislature on any bill since they came to power in 2003. The Opposition parties lead by Tim Hudak (PC) and Andrea Horwath (NDP) forced through a wrong-headed bill on cutting back the provincial portion of the HST on home heating bills (why is this wrong-headed, you ask? For low-income individuals who live in smaller housing which requires less heat, it makes a minor difference; for high-income individuals who live in big housing that requires lot of heat, it makes a big difference).

The vote was lost 54 to 50, or all Opposition members versus 50 government members minus two who didn't show up for whatever reason (one is away, the other said he supported it - but they weren't going to win anyways). Expect to see quite a few of these numbers over the next year or so as the Opposition flexes its discordant muscle together.

The McGuinty government's reaction is pretty typical - they're the government, therefore they don't have to allow to bill to go to third reading. It might seem like an anti-democratic and backroom tactic, and it is; however, it is a right of any government. So long as its something they're allowed to do, moral qualms about it aren't going to get you far, especially considering its a policy that's been around forever, under all three parties.

Dipper reaction is also pretty typical - corporations are getting tax giveaways, why not teh people?

PC reaction is... well, it's not very well known yet. My guess is that Hudak doesn't necessarily care/isn't paying attention while he goes about pumping his public sector wage freeze which he'll never, ever get.

Overall, it's not going to really matter. The Opposition will allow the Throne Speech to pass (unless they're very, very stupid), and it's likely that the Liberals will get their Home Renovation Tax Credit passed as well. Kind of like the old minority parliaments of yesteryear in Ottawa, there's going to be a lot of huffin' and puffin', but in the end there's little to really be done.

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