I consider myself a non-partisan centrist liberal. Although I support the NDP this election in Ontario, I’m not a blind partisan married to any party.
This election, for me, is not about my team winning. It’s about moving the pendulum from the right-wing back towards the center where it was back in the Peterson era (for example.)
I think the Toronto Star’s Liberal bias this election is painfully obvious. They’ve written about 30 op-eds that smear Andrea Horwath and outright lie.
If one views politics like sports, you’ll believe that whatever lucky break your team gets you won fair and square. But when we’re talking about the role of the fourth estate, campaigning for a party is a clear violation of the rules.
Back in the day
Back during the 2011 federal election, I supported Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. The Toronto Star ended up endorsing Jack Layton. But I didn’t notice The Star promoting NDP talking points and strategies, or unfairly attacking Ignatieff. Back then they had high standards of journalistic integrity.
Not all Star journalists are sell-outs this election. Tim Harper is an example of honest, objective journalism. He has written two columns that touch on the Ontario election. There are no biases. No partisan agenda. He describes Andrea’s NDP as a “drift to the middle” — which it clearly is if you have any comprehension of the left-right economic political spectrum.
Before I get into exposing The Star’s most outrageous partisan rhetoric, I will point out the Liberal strategy this election, since it’s obviously related.
Considering the Liberals lost a fake majority by one seat in 2011, their game plan this time around is to elbow out the NDP and win enough left-leaning votes to secure their majority.
The Liberal long game is to destroy centrist NDP leaders like Andrea Horwath and Tom Mulcair. If they can divide-and-conquer the NDP, the party might react by electing ideological leadership. This will marginalize the party like it was under Howard Hampton and Alexa McDonough and pave the way for Liberal fake majorities.
The Star’s most outrageous partisan rhetoric
Andrea is a “right-wing populist”: Ronald Reagan was a right-wing populist. Brought in big income tax cuts from which the wealthy benefited the most.
Andrea is clearly not a “starve the beast” neo-con trying to destroy post-war centrist “big government.”
Following in Jack Layton’s footsteps, Andrea is a “pocket book” populist. Clearly left-wing. The idea is to make life more affordable for people struggling in an anemic economy with rising bills, fees and regressive taxes.
Her measures do not benefit the rich the most. They benefit low-income the most. Of course, they are meant to appeal to the most people to attract the most votes. (It’s called democracy.)
Andrea is Margaret Thatcher: This is the complete negation of the truth. Thatcher made deep spending cuts, cut public benefits, busted unions, privatized public utilities. Really?
Andrea is Rob Ford: This particular propaganda is based on Andrea’s pledge to cut $600-million in bureaucratic waste, which is a modest 0.5% of the budget. Nothing like Ford’s right-wing “gravy train” rhetoric.
The absurd reality is that Wynne’s budget contains her own $1.25-billion in cuts to bureaucratic waste. Add hypocrisy to the ridiculous smear.
Andrea supports a coalition with Hudak: This groundless story was concocted by Thomas Walkom, which Wynne ran with. (In fact, Wynne set the stage by raising the coalition issue out of the blue two days before.) Wynne went on a tirade condemning Andrea for the imaginary coalition.
A few days later, Wynne hypocritically said she would prop up a Hudak minority. (See the whole sordid story here.)
Andrea abandoned her party’s principles/commitment to the poor: According to Liberals, the job of the NDP is to propose big social policies — as a minor opposition party to a Liberal or PC majority — which are to be summarily ignored as Liberals and PCs slash benefits to the poor and disabled.
The NDP are smart to realize that an incremental approach is better, especially with the pendulum way out on the right side. In a democracy, broad support is required to govern and get something accomplished. Compromise is an unavoidable requirement.
Andrea rejected the most progressive budget in decades: After 20 years of regressive PC and Liberal governments? The Wynne government fell because of corruption, waste and broken promises. Instead of seeking support for her budget, Wynne ran attack ads.
(Contrary to a long-held Liberal belief, Liberals are not entitled to power.)
Wynnes’s budget is far from progressive. According to Bloomberg, it contains the “biggest cuts since 1995” when Mike Harris came to power.
Her pension plan is also regressive. According to Maclean’s, it gives high-income earners a boost, but gouges low-income like the federal Liberal EI reforms of the Chretien era.
Wynne is campaigning on a stronger social justice platform than Andrea: If you compare platforms, it’s clear that Andrea is to the left of Wynne, as you would expect.
Wynne’s real agenda is to campaign from the left, win a majority, then govern from the right. (A strategy Chretien was infamous for.)
Bloomberg says Wynne’s platform contains the “biggest Ontario cuts since 1995” when Mike Harris came to power. Calls Wynne a “less draconian” Harris. Anyone who associates that with social justice doesn’t remember Harris very well.
Andrea is creating another liberal party: If Andrea has turned the NDP into a centrist liberal party, hers would be the only one.
Over the past 20 years, the Liberal party abandoned centrist liberal values for neo-liberal ideology. They have embraced big spending cuts, cuts to public benefits, corporate tax cuts, privatization and small government.
They have been enablers of a neo-con “starve the beast” agenda. Neo-cons like Mulroney, Harris and Harper bring in huge tax cuts that primarily benefit the rich. Then "Liberals" like Chretien, Martin, McGuinty, Wynne and now Justin Trudeau cement them in place. The pendulum gets ratcheted further and further rightwards every time.
Why shouldn’t the NDP represent centrist liberals the Liberal party abandoned decades ago?