It’s time for Kathleen Wynne to retire … quietly

McGuinty quit when he realized he’d become an albatross. She should do the same.

Could the Ontario Liberals win without Wynne? Right now their poll numbers are sunk somewhere down around the Mariana Trench — but according to a new Mainstreet poll, all it would take for the party to edge back into majority territory would be a new face at the helm.

If Premier Kathleen Wynne were to quit and hand the reins to someone else, says the poll, her party would get 29 per cent of voter support, besting the Progressive Conservatives at 28, the NDP at 16 and the Greens at 5 per cent (22 per cent of voters would remain undecided). If she stays, and if nothing else changes, she presides over a Liberal rout: The PCs are polling at 35 per cent — which puts them within swinging distance of a majority — the Liberals at 21 per cent, New Democrats at 18, Greens at 5, 21 per cent undecided.

“The Liberal brand in Ontario is still very very strong,” said Mainstreet President Quito Maggi, “but (Wynne’s) own personal brand … she’s wearing all the negatives.”

That’s a lot of negatives. Under the Liberals, a succession of deficit budgets have pushed the provincial debt to over $300 billion. Job growth remains sluggish, with unemployment at 6.7 per cent. Hydro rates have doubled since 2003 and rose 15 per cent in the last year alone. Wynne’s recent promise of an 8 per cent rebate to hydro consumers seems to have done little to stem public anger: At a recent agricultural fair, she was booed by farmers struggling with sky-high electricity bills.

Under Wynne’s leadership the Liberals also struggled on the labour front, striking unpopular sweetheart deals with teachers’ unions while failing to strike a deal with the province’s doctors. They hiked taxes on the wealthy, on tobacco and airline fuel. They spent $70 million to create an Ontario Pension Plan — the centrepiece of Wynne’s 2014 election campaign — only to scrap the idea when Ottawa agreed recently to increase CPP benefits.

Meanwhile, an investigation by the Globe and Mail revealed that Ontario cabinet ministers were given “cash-for-access” fundraising quotas — news that prompted party finance reform and was followed by the recent resignation of Wynne’s fundraising director.

Read the full article on iPolitics.

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