Sunday, January 30, 2011

Conservative Compromises

This article from The Star's Martin Regg Cohn seems an accurate enough description of Hudak's strategy leading up to the election.

When you look at some of the major PC policy grievances they tend to be a predictable mix of Toronto Sun style populism. What is more interesting is how responsive McGuinty is in addressing each policy.

For instance:
Hydro Rates: A significant rebate system which continues the artificially low rates on electricity in the province
Public sector pay raises: A very public war on public service salaries
HST: There isn't much room for compromise here, although the rebate cheques seem to be a transparent political ploy to lure buy votes without any significant broader economic goals.

In each instance it seems that there is a significant overreaction to opposition criticism, more worrisome is that the responses are framed in Conservative terms.

It seems to me this is ultimately a loss politically and is also damaging to long term policy objectives. As Adam Radwanski points out, out-Hudaking Hudak is not a winning strategy.

As demonstrated by the attempted wage freeze – which hasn’t really taken, because Mr. McGuinty is reluctant to play hardball – the Liberals often don’t go as far as the Tories probably would. So they run the risk of sending the signal that there needs to be a shift in the way that government functions, but that they’re not the ones capable of achieving it.