“I will have to have a new slogan: ‘Bland works.’” Bill Davis, 1980
“The polls tell me I’m not the most popular guy. I accept that.” Dalton McGuinty, 2011
How has Ontario politics changed in the last 30 years? Rotation of governing parties Economic change Shifts in Canadian federalism Increasing population diversity Examined through prism of political culture/political values Sets the stage for examination of 2011 election
Wilson (1980): The “Red Tory” province Ascriptive, elitist, hierarchical, stable, cautious and restrained Noel (1997) the imperative pursuit of economic success assumption of pre-eminence in the Canadian federation requirement of managerial efficiency in government expectation of reciprocity in political relationships the balancing of interests
Wilson (1997) “It does appear to be the same old Ontario.”
1985 Poor leadership transition (rural, older image) PC division over separate school funding 1990 Voter alienation and discontent (Meech, economy) Unpopularity of federal PCs General pragmatic streak in Peterson majority and Rae govts Changes can be explained by timing and windows of opportunity, rather than underlying value shifts Loyalty and pragmatism remain; identication with Canada?
1995 PC victory unexpected Tone of radical policy change Polarization of Ontario politics; building on Rae years Harris: Idealogue or opportunist? Erratic Ernie Eves
Political change and polarization Economic restructuring Federal-provincial disputes Growing racial and cultural diversity Loyalty? Pragmatism? Identification with Canada?
Image of bland sincerity Platform of stability Pragmatic leadership and policies pursuit of economic success assumption of Canadian pre- eminence managerial efficiency reciprocity in political relationships balancing of interests Reinforced in 2007 election PC platform offered limited contrast School funding: retro issue with new twist John Tory: similar personal image to McGuinty
Ontario politics again about “managing prosperity” and balancing interests But increasing assertiveness within Canada “Interest in things Ontarian” (Wiseman 2007) Mowat Centre Fiscal imbalance issues Popular, or just policy?
Economic downturn Decline of manufacturing Management problems E-health Ecotax Energy mega-projects PC lead in polls But…
PC disconnect between “tax man” attacks and promises of continued/ increased spending NDP Horwarth platform with pseudo-populist approach Liberals relied on their stable policy approach
“The polls tell me I’m not the most popular guy. I accept that.” All parties lacked serious plans for new economic and fiscal challenges Campaign and election results suggest pragmatic leadership remains key Bland worked (mostly)