Kathleen Wynne was joined by some federal heavyweights while campaigning this week, federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and former Prime Minister Paul Martin. It was a well choreographed Three Musketeers act in which they all plugged the Ontario Liberals’ pension reform ideas while still pursuing their own interests. Except Paul Martin, presumably because he no longer has interests at this point.
The Ontario Progressive-Conservatives label the pension plan that they were campaigning on as another ‘payroll’ tax, but former Prime Minister Martin, renowned tax overlord, calls shenanigans on those claims. To him it’s a program that has some incredibly critical use on a provincial level, which his federal expertise makes him very qualified to judge, if you ask him and Wynne.
While Wynne was happily having her heavyweight friends plugging the Ontario Liberal platform, federal golden boy Trudeau took the opportunity in front of the media to attack the Harper government, which actually seems relevant since Wynne likes to do that too, accusing them of mishandling questions from Canadians and mismanaging worries about retirement, while the courageous Wynne ventured into the howling darkness alone to help Ontarians survive their elder years.
In what could only be described as an actor plugging their latest project on a low-budget talk show (listen up, Late Night with Seth Meyers), Trudeau declared “I’m here to tell her that she won’t have to go it alone for long, because she will have a partner in Ottawa come the next election.” So beautiful.
That’s right, Justin Trudeau went on record saying that he would a friend in Ottawa for Wynne should she
wynne win the election. We don’t often get federal leaders endorsing provincial candidates, so either Justin is setting a new precedent in Canadian politics, or he still doesn’t quite get how this federal leadership thing works. If we were in the United States, a federal hack interfering in provincial affairs would be heresy, but here we just roll our eyes.
Since the Ontario Liberals are actually affiliated with the Federal Liberals, it’s not that strange to see them mixing and mingling. However, more often than not, federal parties tend to keep themselves removed from provincial matters, both in case something goes wrong and to avoid burning bridges with opponents. If you piss off the someone who becomes a provincial leader, they will say mean things behind your back at the Council of the Federation and generally make your life more difficult.
Trudeau has his beautiful hair to woo voters, while Paul Martin has his record of fiscal responsibility and indecisiveness. Hudak’s team has some big names as well, with John Baird, Pierre Pollievre, and Tony Clement in particular starting to stump for him.
This can only turn out well for the country as a whole. Imagine if Hudak formed government, and Trudeau became Prime Minister. No awkward tensions there. Or Wynne holds onto Ontario and Harper tries to hold onto his seats in the province. This really sounds like everyone is going to get along, hold hangs and sing Kumbaya.
Federal politicians wouldn’t dare to interfere in the politics of, say, Quebec for example. Provinces are autonomous, self-determined entities that have united under one common, Canadian banner. It’s what makes this nation so great. Also Quebec is generally pretty toxic, so worth avoiding.
But Ontario, they think it’s ok to meddle a little. It’s at least fun to feel important. This Ontario election nonsense going downhill anyways. Why not grab a piece of the pie before it gets mouldy?