Ontario needs courage from Lt.-Gov. Dowdeswell

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TORONTO – That was one panicked throne speech Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell delivered Monday.

Usually such events set out a vision — goals and aspirations the government will strive to achieve.

This one had a note of hysteria about it: The Liberals are furiously backpedalling on hydro rates. The government finally got the message that it can’t simply push the cost of the Liberals’ failed electricity policies onto ratepayers.

So they’re going to move them onto taxpayers.

The people who use the least electricity will get the smallest tax breaks. They’ll be subsidizing the fat cats who can afford to run their air conditioners and their pool pumps all day. Forget about the senior who waits until midnight to turn on the washing machine.

And the Liberals are still clinging to their promise to balance the books — next year. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

In the 13 years they’ve been in power, they’ve never balanced the books. This year, they got three rousing cheers for bringing in a deficit of $5.7 billion.

It was heralded as a breakthrough. This wastrel government has introduced some of the biggest tax heists this province has ever known — the health-care levy, the HST and now cap-and-trade — and still it can’t balance its books.

The Liberals consistently break their election promises, yet voters docilely return them to office. They scrap gas plants, they waste billions on questionable boondoggles such as eHealth and Ornge, yet they get re-elected.

In the rest of the world, voters rise up when their governments are tainted by the mere whiff of scandal or mismanagement.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was impeached for manipulating government accounts. It’s alleged she was illegally moving funds between accounts, to make up deficits in social programs.

Now she’s gone.

That seems to me small potatoes compared to some of the shenanigans the Liberals have got up to.

Rousseff’s approval ratings plummeted from a high of 79% in March 2013 to 10% in March this year. Hmmm. Who does that remind me of?

Oh, Kathleen Wynne, who’s been polling in the single digits recently and who was noticeably not front and centre during the recent Scarborough Rouge-River byelection, in which voters gave Liberals a stern spanking.

The way out of this is controversial. It’s not a path that’s taken often.

Nor should it be.

It’s one that would take courage on the part of Dowdeswell. It’s our version of recall legislation.

There’s precedent for the vice-regal officer to step in and dismiss a government under extraordinary circumstances, according to constitutional lawyer Ronald Cheffins, a former justice of the courts of appeal for B.C. and Yukon, a former vice-chair of the Law Reform Commission of British Columbia, and a professor emeritus of the University of Victoria.

Writing in the Canadian Parliamentary Review, Cheffins cites earlier precedents in B.C. and Manitoba when lieutenant governors have threatened premiers with their power of dismissal if they didn’t shape up.

“None of the above should be taken as an invitation to vice-regal representatives to dismiss first ministers, but it does remain not only a clear legal power of a lieutenant governor or governor general, but also in extraordinary circumstances, in accordance with constitutional practice,” Cheffins writes.

In Australia in 1974, Gov.-Gen. Sir John Kerr dismissed scandal-plagued Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and replaced him with the leader of the Liberal opposition, Malcolm Fraser. Parliament was dissolved, an election called and Fraser won in a landslide.

We’ve suffered enough. We can’t afford any more of this chaotic government.

Send a message to Dowdeswell that she can’t ignore: email lt.gov@ontario.ca or write her at Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Queen’s Park, Toronto, Ont., M7A 1A1.

Toronto Sun by Christina Blizzard

Sept 13th 2016

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