COLUMN: Harper’s greatest electoral weapon, Kathleen Wynne

MORRISBURG — Kathleen Wynne is Stephen Harper’s greatest weapon in the 2015 federal election. Premier Wynne thinks that by picking a fight with the Prime Minister she is helping Justin Trudeau secure a win in Ontario. Instead, she has becomes the greatest liability to the federal Liberal cause.

Wynne has a horrible record in office, from her failed ‘Green Energy’ program which is bankrupting the province, to her failure to produce a balanced budget since she has been premier. The provincial government has been more interested in how to burn through the money it doesn’t have than produce a proper jobs plan. During her term, companies have fled the province in droves, citing high wages and high energy costs as the reason. Even now, with a softening Canadian  dollar making Canada competitive again in the manufacturing export industry, there are no companies left willing to take advantage of it in Ontario.

Premier Wynne has no business lecturing the federal government when they cannot keep their own fiscal house in-order, reign in their own spending or live within their own means.

That is what makes her Stephen Harper’s greatest weapon. For as much as the federal Liberals believe she will help the cause of “Trudeau the Younger”, it will have the opposite effect. Without any success by the Wynne Liberals, her endorsement is a lead weight around Trudeau electoral chances. All the Prime Minister has to do is remind middle class families in Ontario about their ever growing electricity bills, the upcoming retirement savings tax plan, cuts to health care, longer wait times for services, and the like. But the biggest lead weight is still to come: teachers.

By all accounts, three of the four main teachers unions in the province will be able to go out on strike before the start of the school year on September 8th. If that happens, consider Trudeau’s electoral chances all but finished.  A few million families suddenly having to deal with their children not being in school will alienate potential Liberal supporters very quickly.  The longer a strike goes on, the more anger towards Wynne, the provincial Liberals and anything they support.

The progressive vote will move to the NDP, which may be enough of a split in the left of the province to allow the Conservatives to win ridings. This strategy is all too well know by the Conservatives, as splitting the right-wing vote between Reform and the Progressive Conservatives in the 1990’s was how Jean Chretien and the Liberals were able to secure three majority governments in a row.

The best thing for Justin Trudeau’s election chances is to disavow any knowledge of Premier Wynne and play-down any endorsement from the provincial Liberals, until after October 20th. Knowing full well that neither will do that, Wynne will remain the greatest weapon in Harper’s electoral arsenal.

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