Okay, before you do the knee jerk partisan deduction( here goes those Liberals again), pretend for a second there were no "teams", just philosophical underpinnings. Readers of this blog will know I've long made the case that colour tends to blind actual spectrum considerations. For instance, Gary Doer was centrist, pro big business, observers agree that his government had little in common with federal NDP policies. As well, Darrell Dexter winning in Nova Scotia was really an exercise in moving the provincial NDP to the center, a fact that is irrefutable. For all the fawning from federal NDP forces, Dexter was really a repudiation of traditional NDP ground. I mention these examples because I firmly believe you could make a case that Dalton McGuinty is every bit the progressive that these supposed NDP icons are and where. In other words, forget about this colour and that, just look at the policies and you'll find little true impetus to vote NDP in this provincial election.
What are the big issues, synonymous with traditional NDP leanings? Start with unions, and you'll find that the McGuinty government has brought relative labour peace to the public sector, contrasted with the past regime, it's like night and day McGuinty has engaged with respect and the relationship has been quite cordial. As well, moving to the private sector, the fact that the head of the CAW can take the stage with McGuinty speaks VOLUMES about how the provincial Liberals have governed. A perfect record? Absolutely not, but if this was an NDP government, NDP supporters would be singing McGuinty's praises, of that I have absolutely no doubt.
I once voted NDP, primarily because I felt they were spot on when it came to the environment, the Liberals a disappointing disaster, closer to regressive than progressive by any measure. However, if you're concerned about the environment in this provincial election, there is endless evidence that these McGuinty Liberals offer the best alternative. Oh sure, we can quibble about this and that, but if you forget the partisan pom poms for a moment, you'd have to concede the Liberal agenda is progressive, dare I say REVOLUTIONARY. The fact leading environmentalists have praised the agenda, endorsed it completely, offers some independent realism apart from the partisan fog.
The NDP traditionally believe in a interventionalist government, one that actively engages in the economy. This approach is in direct contrast to the hands off, free market approach that Conservatives believe. The McGuinty government has demonstrated time and again that it sees an active role for government in the economy, there is nothing offensive in this approach from a purely philosophical NDP perspective.
I don't mean to sound smug or dismissive, but I'm starting to see this provincial election in Ontario as really more about colour than content, more about who you're predisposed to support, rather than a fair reading of the issues. On many major fronts, the red team reads like the orange team, so much so if we traded platforms, people would passionately defend. In this election, for myself, the Ontario NDP are entirely unnecessary, redundant and the points of distinction are more exaggerated for partisan purposes than true philosophical divergence.
There I said it :)