Ontario, Canada’s Dalton McGuinty: Obama Prototype

Written by Wes Walker on June 14, 2013

Space does not permit me to describe the other billions wasted on the “eHealth” scandal; the ORNGE scandal: the air ambulance service that lived large on the taxpayer dime (while failing to provide service to, you know, actual patients) and even auditors can’t trace the waste; or the travesty that is Caledonia; or his many other scandals (here is a starter list).

This takes us to today.  The Liberal government was busted trying to cover up their latest, and possibly biggest scandal.  His party was in very real danger of losing the last election, and polling indicated that several electoral ridings would be affected by two partially-completed, natural-gas fired power plants the Liberals themselves had commissioned, against public opinion.

So, mere days before the election, and without consultation, the Liberals reversed their decision and pulled the plug on construction of these two plants.  There was a lot of dancing and obfuscation as the Opposition demanded documents.  The paperwork relating to this decision was code-named “project vapour” to sidestep freedom of information requests.  They eventually admitted that the decision was purely political, before playing the “we did it for the children” card.

In the following months, Dalton’s Liberals used a number of tactics to dodge responsibility.  Besides stalling on the release of documents, McGuinty stepped down as leader, and dismissed Provincial parliament for the several months it took his party could select his successor.  The dismissal (“prorogation”) brought legislation and formal inquiry to an abrupt end.  (How convenient for them.)

Since that time, several officials in his administration have deleted and permanently destroyed numerous important files that would shed light on these issues.  The data on the servers was only kept for a set length of time, which conveniently elapsed during their stalling tactics.  Still, today he will stand with his trademark benign smile and congratulate himself for being such a great blessing to Ontario, and somehow, people still buy it.

My American friends, do not underestimate the ability of anyone connected to Axlerod to sidestep the consequences of even the most heinous scandal.  And, more importantly, do not assume that the records you need to hold them to account will still be there when you demand them.  They know all the slippery tricks and tactics.  If you are going to act in response to your President’s scandals, you will need to act quickly and decisively.

Image: Dalton McGuiny; author: Joshua Sherurcij

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