Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor

One year from now we can effect change PR

Osprey Media. - Brantford Expositor: "McGuinty plots out re-election campaign

James Wallace
Queens Park - Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dalton McGuinty leans back in his chair, turns slightly and nods out the
window behind him.

'You're here today, in my office, overlooking the lawn of Queen's Park,' the
Premier tells a visitor, then pauses to make a point.

'It's pretty quiet out there.'

McGuinty's Liberal government moved into the fourth and final year of its
mandate this past week. Less than a year from now, voters will get a chance
to weigh the accomplishments and failings of his party, which convinced
voters to 'choose change' in 2003.

In an exclusive interview with Osprey News, McGuinty reflected on his coming
campaign for re-election and the broad messages he'll be bringing to voters.

'For the last year, we will continue to drive hard on our original mandate,
particularly when it comes to the fundamentals,' he said, 'Getting class
sizes down, test scores up, getting wait times down, getting nurses hired
and graduating more physicians.'

'We also want to continue to work with labour and business to continue to
grow the economy, whether it's in the auto sector, manufacturing, forestry
or agriculture.'

'Beyond that, we will use that as a foundation on which we'll build our next
platform and our next set of commitments,' he said.

Those will be unveiled in the coming months but more broadly, the thrust of
McGuinty's campaign message will be twofold.

First, elaborating on his point about the relative absence of pro"

The other key theme in his campaign will directly address his greatest vulnerability - broken promises. Conservative leader John Tory recently foreshadowed what's coming at a press conference at his Queen's Park caucus office by lining the walls with signs listing broken Liberal promises. "I won't raise your taxes," one cried. "Stop school closings," said another. Others said "Unclog emergency rooms," "Balance the budget," "Provide a new funding formula for rural and northern schools," "Divert 60% of municipal garbage to recycling by 2005," "Tackle gridlock," "Close coal-fired electricity plants by 2007." Tory called McGuinty's decision to break a campaign promise by creating a new, $2.4 billion health care tax a "gross betrayal of the people" and predicted debate over broken promises in the coming campaign will be "vigorous." McGuinty made promises without thinking through their consequences and as a result was repeatedly forced to break them, he said. "I would never govern that way," Tory said. "I couldn't afford to run a business that way. I couldn't afford to run a football league that way, I couldn't afford to run charitable organizations that way." "In fact nobody runs things that way in their lives, they don't run their family life that way and yet he thinks he can run the Province of Ontario that way, Tory said. McGuinty, understandably, will ask the public to view things differently. "The other thing I would ask people to note, as they come to learn a little bit more about me. I'm not going to shrink from tough decisions," he said. "I didn't raise a health tax because I thought it would be warmly embraced by my mother, or all Ontarians," he said. "I did it because I honestly believed it was the best thing for us to do in the circumstances." Finally, McGuinty will run on a record of "recognizable improvement" in health care, education and other areas of provincial responsibility. No other government, he said, has done that - set goals, measured the results and reported back to voters. "You can count the kids in a classroom, you'll be able to do that at election time; count the test scores, count the graduations, count the wait times, count the doctors, count the nurses," he said. Come Oct. 4, 2007, all that will be left to do is count the votes.

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