Something strange is going on in the world of Ontario politics.
Ontarians are suddenly getting passionate.
And this is a big change; for years political passion of any kind was lacking in Ontario.
Simply put, nobody seemed to care what was happening at the provincial government level.
This in turn translated into a political dynamic where there was no desire to keep the governing Liberals in power and no desire to drive them out. The Liberals were just there, unloved but also unhated.
This state of affairs, by the way, suited Premier Dalton McGuinty just fine.
In fact, his mind-numbing governing style seemed designed to keep Ontario voters in a catatonic state.
He stayed away from controversial or sweeping changes and settled down to mainly banning things – he banned using cell phones while driving, he banned pit bulls, he banned smoking in cars, and in the process tried to ban any sense of personality responsibility.
And it worked.
McGuinty and his boring, banning Liberals won a landslide majority in the last election and since then had maintained a huge lead in public opinion polls --- until now.
Things are changing. All of a sudden, Ontarians are turning on the Liberals.
According to a recent Environics Poll Liberal support now stands at 32 percent of decided voters which is down a whopping 12 points since June. Meanwhile the usually sad-sack Opposition Progressive Conservatives have surged ahead of the Liberals and stand at 37 per cent support.
Well the McGuinty Liberals have taken some real hits lately: the ehealth scandal, ministerial resignations, the mushrooming provincial deficit, embarrassing Auditor-General reports, an unpopular HST and then there’s the millstone of his unpopular federal Liberal cousins.
All of this, of course, helps to explain McGuinty’s poor poll numbers.
But maybe something else is at work. Maybe Ontarians are just waking up and recognizing their leader for what he truly is: a lacklustre politician, who wants to make government bigger and more costly, who wants to make taxes higher and who consistently meddles in people's lives.
If this keeps up and if the polls continue to show a drop in Liberal support, Premier McGuinty will have only one choice, he will have to ban opinion polls.
Crossposted at the Libertas Post.