Kathleen Wynne: The Misunderstood Genius Of The Family Compact
A good portion of the vitriol behind Donald Trump’s election as president of the U.S. was resentment of the American governing and media class. The ongoing efforts of the DC culture trying to defeat and then impeach him has revealed there was a great deal of truth to what seemed Trump’s paranoid musings about being wiretapped by the ruling class in American politics.
The lingering impression is that it is government by The New Yorker— not the people’s government— and anyone messing with their business must be eliminated. They want you to believe they were spying on Trump to protect him from Russians, not to destroy his political prospects. Admit it, that takes some hubris.
But this l’étât c’est moi from Washington’s bureaucratic swamp is more than matched by the display of contempt for Conservative leader Doug Ford from the established culture of Ontario grandees. Like Trump, Ford is made out to be a parvenu, an interloper, a bully boy threatening the sense of decorum imposed by the Family Compact of Queens Park.
Ford is polling at numbers that suggest he can form a government. The NDP is a very close second and the governing Liberals are on pace to lose party status under their reviled leader Kathleen Wynne. Yet Toronto’s chattering class has decided that the outgoing premier is a misunderstood visionary.
The Liberals have been in power under Wynne and Dalton McGuinty for 15 years of corruption, incompetence and crony management. Their inept handling of the province’s finances has left Ontario the most indebted non-sovereign state in the world. Their top bureaucrat is going to jail for destroying evidence of a cover-up when they cancelled a $1.5 billion natural-gas-fired power plant. The man who spearheaded their educational policy went to jail for pedophilia.
Their infatuation with green energy has left Ontario with a blighted countryside and homeowner bills that must still be paid for a generation from now. And when the provincial auditor suggested that Wynne’s Liberals had the economic acumen of a Bulgarian shoe manufacturer Madame premier said their numbers were wrong.
You’d expect that a legacy so tainted, so duplicitous to be risible— especially with the public so readily giving the Liberals the heave-ho. But you’d be wrong. The urban arbiters of culture and values have chosen this moment to declare that you people didn’t deserve someone so special as Kathleen Wynne.
Predictably the Toronto Star, mouth organ of Liberal values, is leading the choir . “I suspect Wynne will emerge in hindsight as the bold leader of the most capable and effective government Ontario has enjoyed since the heyday of the fabled Big Blue Machine,” writes John Barber. “She will be remembered as the best of her generation, representing Ontario at its best.”
Barber allows that the hoi poloi might be a little bored with Kathleen the Competent, but they will rue the day they turned their back on this secular saint. Citing an economic miracle so vibrant that Ontario now receives over a billion dollars in annual equalization payments and has seen its credit rating cut from stable to negative, Barber opines, “Suffice it to say that current public opinion in Ontario will seem just as mysterious in the future as it does today.”
Well, you may say, that’s the Toronto Red Star. But here’s Christie Blatchford, whose journalistic Nikes I typically am not worthy to kiss, in the National Post. “It’s as plain as the nose on your face. It’s so obvious it hardly bears saying. But it’s why the decision facing Ontario voters on June 7 is so freaking difficult — or rather, she’s why.
“Kathleen Wynne is so clearly heads and tails smarter, better informed and more capable than Doug Ford that it borders on the ridiculous.”
There are more tributes in this vein. Despite her foibles, Wynne is still the downtown darling, the doyenne of SJW virtue with her same-sex relationship, her plucky class resentments and, most of all, her slavish devotion to the healing balm of the bureaucracy that has run Ontario for decades. (It’s like Quebec’s government obsession— minus the cultural trappings.)
None of this is meant to suggest that these wind therapists are insincere. Au contraire. Like the Hillary believers who couldn’t conceive of her losing to that vulgar man, they’re oblivious to how they’re seen by the rank-and-file who live in suburbs and beyond. Witness Wynne’s horrified Church Lady reaction to Ford proposing beer in corner grocery stores— she thinks it’s a dangerous idea.
These people are impervious to irony. Many compare Ford and Trump. But there is a great difference. In the United States there is still a semblance of free speech. It’s why FOX TV is No.1 in cable news, and you can hear a range of opinions online and on air.
But Canada has been seriously going about the business of snuffing out any contrary messaging under the banner of “hate speech” for some time. The school marms of political correctness have— with the aid of mainstream media— enforced a groupthink upon the Canadian middle class. Ezra Levant is pilloried for his cheeky attacks on David Suzuki.
Mike Harris— who attempted to impose financial discipline on Ontario— is portrayed as a Nazi jackboot for pausing to ask why the province spent like drunks on shore leave. Poor Rob Ford was barbecued by the genteel members of the fourth estate.
There is a chance that, if Doug Ford can hang on to his lead there might be a flickering of recognition from the Family Compact that there is another Ontario out there. One that doesn’t share its penchant for nuit blanche and TIFF and the Gay Pride Parade. It’s possible.
But as the dewey-eyed tributes to Wynne remind us, we shouldn’t get our hopes too high.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy.is the host of the podcast The Full Count with Bruce Dowbiggin on his website is Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). He’s also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also the best-selling author whose new book Cap In Hand will be available this fall.