Back room conversations at the Ontario Liberal Party?

With recent polling results in Ontario putting the Ontario Liberal Party in third place and almost 60% of those polled suggesting Premier Wynne should resign, we imagine there might be some hand-wringing going on among party executives and senior MPPs.

The following is my take on how one of the strategy sessions to plan for the upcoming 2018 election might go.

The players:

VB—President of the party

SG—Liberal strategists

GM—Environment Minister

GT—Energy Minister


CS—Finance Minister

VB: OK, folks, I’ve called this meeting because we are down deep in all the polling results and we only have a little over a year to turn things around.  I felt after our last planning session the announcements by the Premier and the Energy Minister to drop the 8% provincial portion of the HST and the reduction offered to rural ratepayers would do the job.  That hasn’t happened and the media have kept presenting bad news stories about hydro rates despite those two actions.  We need to do more so I need some ideas!

SG: As I see it the start of the “cap and trade” tax sure hasn’t helped the parties image either, in spite of how we painted it as Ontario “leading the world in a climate change environment.”   We also got both the environmentalists and the Prime Minister himself to bless it!  The good thing though is the tax will pull in lots of money so we should think about how we can use it.  Just a warning Charles—you may have to be imaginative when you present the budget to show it coming to balance in 2018 and Glen—most of the funds won’t be at your disposal either! We need to get voters back on side in the urban centres now too.  We are looking weak in Ottawa, Windsor and even Toronto in a few ridings.   We have to get electricity costs off the front burner!  So, how?

GM: I’m OK with not getting a chunk of the money—we are so far ahead of everyone else on this issue.

GT: Well, as you suggest, the electricity sector is at the top of the list among voter’s concerns so we have to do something to show rates going down.  We have made some noises about looking at the distribution rates and can, to a certain extent, blame the municipalities who own the local distribution companies. Or, we could blame the OEB so maybe we should focus on getting those down?  Could we use some of the “cap and trade” tax for that purpose?

PW: We have kind of teased the media that we will use some new money for exactly that, looking for more ways we can get rates down so let’s do it.  Glenn, I am glad you followed through and got some of those old gas plants shut down as that should mean the electricity sector emissions will show a slight decrease, and let’s pray for no smog days in 2017 so we can brag about it.  It also makes it look like we know what we are doing!   One thing I should tell you though, Glenn: stay away from O’Leary. Your letter to him didn’t do so well in social media.  I probably shouldn’t have gone after him either, so from now on let’s just pretend he doesn’t exist!

Now Charles, how much do you think we can put towards getting those rates down, oh, and don’t forget, as soon as we are re-elected we can put the 8% right back on those electricity bills?

CS: I figure we can throw $1.2 to 1.3 billion into the Energy Ministry pot to help get rates down. It’s less than 1% of the budget.  Glenn and I figure it will get distribution rates down quite a bit—possibly as much as $300 a year for residential ratepayers.  That would be $25 per month and should win us back a bunch of those voters that are ticked off with us.  Even if we get, say, 1 million voters back, that will go a long way to bringing us another majority.   I’m pretty sure I can find a way to come up with what looks like a balanced budget for 2018 even without that money.  Thank God the economy is showing some signs of life as that is helping to push revenues up a little bit. Some of those recent fee increases for licenses, etc. also help, not to mention the HST tax on the cap and trade tax.

SG: OK, I think this plan makes sense so let’s keep our fingers crossed and make it happen.  We will help the Premier coordinate the news releases to make sure the media can’t do anything but praise her and the party.  Timing will be key so let’s keep this under wraps for a little while and just offer some snippets to give the sense that good news is coming.  Later this year we can deliver the goods!

VB: OK.  I agree with SG that this should be a major plank in our comeback bid and we can hopefully see those polling numbers change for the better.  I have a good feeling that we will be able to get those supporters back and come through the 2018 election with another majority.  This meeting is over!



Now we taxpayers and ratepayers can sit back and watch as the Ontario LIberals do what they continue to do before the next election, or we can push for real change to reduce the burden on households rather than simply watch the shell game unfold.

As Abraham Lincoln once said: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”


Author: parkergallantenergyperspectivesblog

Retired international banker.

6 thoughts on “Back room conversations at the Ontario Liberal Party?”

  1. J Love this Parker, thank you. We need to form some sort of group to develop a strategy to make sure the Liberals are overthrown. I have been compiling election issues to start the ball rolling in the fall of this year. I am meeting with the PC senior advisor at the ROMA conference next week to toss around a few ideas. We need to help the PC party ensure victory. The new theme in political positioning is fact based policy, communication and policies. I am sure the PC party can win the urban and rural centers if the focus is on; · OPP billing · Health care o Wait times o Long term care o Paramedic services · Infrastructure · Green Energy Act o Electricity rates o Wind turbines and solar farms o Cap and trade · Taxation · Liberal Issues o Red tape o Transparency o Scandals Probably more but that is the key issues I have filed for now. I don’t believe the rural should be the focus as the rural community can’t wait to vote in the PC party. Ron


    1. I agree that the PC’s need to step up with appropriate, sound, fact based strategies. The last time they had the path to win they blew it with a political plan that was a disaster second only to the party leader.
      I fear that the Liberals will take some dramatic action to lower rates however that gets framed and achieved which could appease many of the urban voters. The large city voters especially Toronto are not so anti the Liberals. There needs to be more emphasis on the fact that for the ten’s of billions spent or committed to be spent, there has been little if any impact on the carbon footprint. the closer of the coal plants reduced carbon but after you take that out of the equation, what has been achieved?? The real culprit for carbon in Ontario is transportation and they have done little to lower that carbon footprint. They could have achieved so much more if they had not rode down the Wind and solar path. The billions would have made an enormous difference in the expansion of integrated transit in the GTA and actions to head off the road jams that now exist from the Hamilton area into Toronto. How do we effectively frame that message to put a much larger spike in their coffin?? And what will the PC’s have to offer that will be credible and effective where they have not done so in the last election and I have not seen much effective challenges from them yet. The Liberals have the microphone and weak challenges and nonsense policies like the last time from the PC’s will send voters back to the liberals.


  2. We have an administration that has been in power since 2013…that inherited a complicated mix of climate violating fossil fuel and expensive hydro infrastructure energy generation sources. The current administration has been acting in the public interest on the most credible scientific/evidence based information available to them…in an environment of uncertain climate/energy policy both Nationally and Globally. I see this blog and group of commenters as conspiring to thwart the administration’s success in tackling these issues by proposing a political strategy for partisan PC ideological gain. It is both a moral and economic imperative for our future prosperity that all global actors address the serious threats posed by inaction on transitioning economies off high carbon/unsustainable trajectories. Why isn’t Parker Gallant using his knowledge to come up with viable structural and policy solutions that this administration can implement?


    1. Your kidding me right? This administration has been in power since 2003 not 2013. Their administration has 5 police investigations that are ongoing, electricity rates have increased by well over 100% during their time in power and about 12% of residential ratepayers are living in energy poverty and you want me to cut them some slack! No way. Scandal after scandal, wait times at emergency rooms are up, highest sub national debt in the world and still climbing. Access for cash, moving gas plants to save seats, now canceling toll proposal by Mayor to ensure they retain their seats in Toronto. I could go on and on but won’t because I have to believe you were just kidding!


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