You would know from reading this blog or searching its archives I’ve not exactly been overflowing in my praise for the Ontario Liberal government the past several years. I had issues with Dalton Mcguinty on environmental issues as well as omnibus Budget bills presented in the same fashion that Stephen Harper did, which is what caused me to not renew my Ontario Liberal membership 3 years ago or so. (It was also a fact that the OLP’s social media relationship with its netroots was non-existent, which didn’t help matters).
When Kathleen Wynne was chosen as the new leader of the party and Premier, I liked her enthusiasm and gusto, and she seemed willing to engage with her net/grassroots, but that took a rather big hit over their AGM a couple of months back, where inquiries on blogger accreditation were outright ignored.
Fast forward to this past Saturday, where an informal Progressive Blogger meetup was held in Toronto. A couple of the Ontario Liberal Party’s new folks were there who will be handling online and social media strategy. We were purposely sought out and some of us in the Liberal blogging fold were sought out and there was a frank discussion of ideas. At the conclusion of that meetup and that frank talk, I am willing to give these new folks a chance to prove that things will be different under them and their relationship with the Liberal netroots, regardless of how the Ontario election ends up.
As for myself, I’ve already stated in my prior blogpost that the Ontario NDP had as NDP a budget as they were going to get, and that failure to accept that budget meant such worthy things as Bill 166, the Ranked Ballot Initative For Toronto, would die and face real danger of not being resurrected. They decided to throw that Budget away, presumably because they felt they could campaign their way into government. It was/is a risky gamble, and one that is rather regrettable for someone like me- a social Liberal – that supports such things as the proposed new Ontario Pension Plan.
The so-called “Progressive” Conservatives under Tim Hudak are anything but – their ascendance to power means a return to Mike Harris style government, with austerity measures and no doubt 24/7 confrontations with groups in society they dislike. We do not need another Mike Harris/Stephen Harper clone in government here in Ontario.
The Ontario Liberals have their warts, as do all parties who have been in power for a decade, but I think Kathleen Wynne has a chance to renew the Ontario Liberal Party, and has a chance with a mandate to implement some of these more progressive policies, as the pension plan and as the Ranked Ballot measure. I still do not support everything this government does for policy (ie the environment), and I’m not going to immediately rush out and re-get my OLP membership card, but this is the party and government I hope will be (re) elected when the election comes around in June.
My particular candidate in Oxford County is Dan Moulton. He’s a young fresh face in Oxford Liberal circles. He faces a very tough field to hoe here in Oxford at the best of times, but he has enthusiasm. He also reached out to me prior to our Saturday meeting on his own initiative, as he knew about this blog. I’ve til now politely declined actively supporting him, due to my past issues with the OLP, but that convo on Saturday means I’m now willing to give him what support I can.