Spare us

A game of “chicken” is sure to play out at Queen’s Park in the days ahead—and hanging in the balance is another provincial election barely five months after Ontarians last went to the polls just before Thanksgiving.
The Progressive Conservatives already have given a “thumbs down” to the provincial budget tabled yesterday by Finance minister Dwight Duncan. That leaves it up to the New Democrats to decide whether the minority Liberal government of Premier Dalton McGuinty survives its first big test.
To help make their call, NDP leader Andrea Horwath is inviting Ontarians to have their say on the budget, today unveiling a website and toll-free number so people essentially can choose if they can live with it—or it warrants triggering an election.
An exercise in true democracy worthy of applause? Perhaps. But it’s also a convenient way to cover their rears, enabling the party to point out the “people” wanted the election, rather than helping bring down the government on its own and suffering the wrath of voters unhappy about having to endure another campaign so quickly.
As is the case with every budget, whether provincial or federal, opinion is decidedly split.
Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the budget is the plan for a two-year wage freeze for Ontario public-sector workers, which already has sparked fears of a summer of labour unrest and threats of back-to-work legislation. For those in the private sector, however, who have been facing frozen wages—and even cuts—for the past several years, the message is simple: welcome to the club.
The budget clearly won’t please everyone. But let’s tell the NDP to at least give the government’s fiscal blueprint a chance to work before passing judgement.
And most of all, spare us another election so soon.