|You can tell I took this photo because its blurry|
Though I was born during Bob Rae's reign as Ontario Premier in the early 90's, and thus also spent my childhood through Mike Harris' government, I will say right now at the outset that Dalton McGuinty has been the most influential Premier in my life, and maybe in Ontario's recent history. No other leader of our province has committed so much of his time and energy in trying to make this province a better place for all those who live in it.
This isn't to say I find McGuinty to be the best Premier ever. Growing up in a Conservative family as I have, I originally found his name amusingly odd (this is way back when in 1999, his first election as leader) and I always found a healthy dislike for him among my kin that put things into perspective. For one, the man is a very calculating politician - the Ontario gas plant controversy is a prime example of that. He will play up any angle he can, and many consider his current plans on the teachers unions as a ploy to gain votes for the Liberals. I also don't agree with the emphasis on some issues, like green energy - I'm supportive, but I'm not going out there to defend it, simply because I feel there is better areas where we can spend this money.
But on most issues, Dalton's my man. He's right on taxation - even if he sometimes promises things he won't keep, like health premiums. But he has helped create a low-tax environment for businesses in this province, but one that would be sustainable if we didn't run across the biggest recession in nearly a century. His response to that - helping to save our automakers, stimulating the economy, and maintaining good services overall - I agree with.
And yes, as much as I know certain people hate this, I support his current actions on tackling the issue of teachers. I don't agree with everything - but I agree with it on general principle. I do wish it was a lot fairer towards new teachers, however.
And there is so much more I follow Dalton on. But the main reason I support him so much is the fact that when he came to power, I noticed the change, even at a young age when I didn't care about the larger world. My own personal experience related, of course, to schools; I saw the difference between the Harris era and the McGuinty era. I didn't even need to be told, because I saw things change. Maybe it was just the attitudes of the teachers themselves, happy because they had someone on their side in Queen's Park. But it felt like school got a lot better. The curriculum was more interesting. The classes were smaller. The infrastructure was even better - I remember them fixing up the crappy wing of my old school when I was 16.
Then I started noticing the news. Lower wait times in hospitals, a full-day kindergarten, a giant surplus, kicking Tory's stupid religious schools idea around like a plaything - things that I understood were positive and I liked the idea of. When in 2008 I became interested in this politics thing federally, it didn't take me much to realize how much I also needed to become involved in the party provincially. I wanted to support Dalton McGuinty's team, and I especially wanted to help elect Karmel Sakran in 2011 for Burlington, in order for him to become apart of that team.
So Dalton, whatever his plans may be for the future, has left an indeliable mark on my own life, as I'm sure he has for many Ontarians. He'll hopefully become one of our most revered party elders, one we can look to for advice on building a strong, effective Liberal brand and government - or maybe, just maybe, he'll even lead us to that status himself. One can only hope.
Oh, and about that prorogation thing - I've come to the realization that McGuinty has it up basically so that the PCs and NDP can't bring down the Liberal government during a transition period. Kudos, Dalton.
Anyways, my ode to Dalton is over - later today I'll be posting up on two new polls, one federally and one provincially.