Liberals raising leader profile

Creating opportunity and pulling Ontarians together is something the Liberals are pledging to do if elected in the next provincial election.
But with a 38 percent recognition rate, the party is working first to raise the profile of leader Dalton McGuinty, who was here Saturday to speak to about 50 supporters during a luncheon at the Red Dog Inn.
“I’ve just got to raise my profile,” the Ottawa-area MPP admitted, though noting his recognition rate has come up 11 percent.
But McGuinty didn’t seem fazed by the low numbers, explaining the majority of his exposure will come in the 28-day campaign before the election, which is expected to be called next year.
But while the NDP are focusing on labour and the Conservatives on business, McGuinty said he’s not for one interest group. He said it’s time to end the division between workers, government, and the public, and raise the morale of those on the front-line.
McGuinty, whose wife is a teacher, charged the Harris government’s premise on education was rooted in distrust of teachers and school boards.
“I have a different premise,” he said, stressing it was based on a partnership between government, teachers, trustees, and parents.
“Politics is ultimately about public service. [And] we’ll never get to where we want to go, which is the best, unless we work as a partnership,” he said, stressing economists were saying the key to strengthening Canada’s economic woes was to develop a highly-skilled and educated work force.
“That means in the 21st century, the industrial strategy is education.
“That means we can’t afford the luxury of a premier who is screwing it up,” he charged, pointing out with post-secondary tuition rates up 60 percent, it was making that goal impossible for some.
“When did we decide in Ontario if university was just going to be for the wealthy?
“Government does not owe anyone a living. Government does not owe anyone a job. But government does owe everyone an opportunity,” he stressed.
The Liberal platform will focus on “good, quality public health care and education,” the national interest, and no tax cut (they have other priorities).
But as for the details, McGuinty said he’s not ready to reveal them yet.
“When Mike Harris calls us for dinner, I’ll serve the meat,” he smiled.