Has McGuinty finally read the results of the October 6th election? Has the reality that he has a Minority government and not Major Minority sunk in? It may have been the base for his latest action.
Premier Dalton McGuinty has sent Opposition Leader Tim Hudak and NDP Leader Andrea Howarth a rather long letter asking for co-operation in the upcoming session of parliament at Queen’s Park ( http://tiny.cc/d35l2 ). He is hoping that he will find common ground by forming a Committee with MPP’s from all parties. He has already named the MPP’s from the Liberal Party to be the government’s colour bearers. Actually he calls his committee a “New Parliamentary Liaison Group.” Liberals named to the PLG are Government House Leader John Milloy, Chief Government Whip Jeff Leal, Deputy House Leader Jim Bradley and Deputy Whip Madeleine Meilleur will represent Eastern Ontario/Ottawa. There has been no word on who will come from Team Hudak or Team Howarth. PC House Leader Jim Wilson said that the PC’s will also appoint 4 MPPs to the PLG and says the PLG will compliment his regular meetings with Milloy and NDP House Leader Gilles Bisson.
While McGuinty has stated that he will rule as if he has a majority, his first actions come from a suggestion from made by former Premier Bill Davis who managed a minority government for 5 years. This move seems to bring reality to McGuinty that he has minority and has to govern like it.
It will be interesting to see if he has the same success that Davis did with this approach.
The election campaigns run by the three leaders suggest that each has a different idea of what is needed for Ontario which may indicate that the PLG may have a lot of negotiating to do so each partner is happy.
How will the three teams work through differences such as taxes (higher or lower), green energy (wind or natural gas), energy costs (HST or No HST) and jobs (created through government spending or through supporting small business). These were key issues through the election period and each party had clear platforms, how successful each can be by compromising their ideals and seem like they are winning will be a sport in itself and will determine how long this minority government survives.
What Premier McGuinty will do for his next acts of setting a date when Queens Park will sit again and who will become the speaker may well dictate how Dalton plans to use the PLG to his advantage or if it will be something Hudak or Howarth can gain from.