Monday, November 30, 2009

Parliamentarians Gone Wild

Tories suspended for animated protest over harmonized tax

Ontario's Legislature ground to a halt Monday afternoon because of a protest over Premier Dalton McGuinty's controversial 13 per cent harmonized sales tax.

Owen Sound-area MPP Bill Murdoch of the Progressive Conservatives refused to leave the chamber after being ordered out for using unparliamentary language, with fellow MPPs Randy Hillier and Toby Barret blocking the sergeant-at-arms from escorting him out.

Both Murdoch and Hillier were suspended from the Legislature for the rest of the session – which means until the government decides to prorogue the House and return with a throne speech in a new session.

I can't remember many recent cases of parliamentarians being suspended for a full session - in any event, it's probably good for Tim Hudak to have Hillier and Murdoch as far away from Queen's Park as possible.

Between this and last week's walk-out, Hudak is doing a great job drawing media attention to the HST. He's making Liberals across the province hate him, and that means he's doing his job as opposition leader.

But you have to wonder. Yeah, the guy can oppose, but are weekly hissy fits and temper tantrums in the legislature really what voters are looking for in a Premier?

Consider the latest Nanos poll for Ontario. The Liberals are down 10 points, but the Tories are only up 4 points. McGuinty's had a rough ride, but when asked who would make the best Premier, he still blows Hudak away:

McGuinty 27%
Hudak 17%
Horwarth 14%

Again, McGuinty is down 15 points, but Hudak is within the margin of error from the numbers interim leader Bob Runciman got in April. Yes, THAT Bob Runciman. And he's 3 points ahead of Andrea Horwarth, who is still unrecognizable to most Ontarians New Democrats Facebook friends blood relatives.

So, yeah, Hudak can oppose. He makes a hell of an opposition leader. And maybe this is only the first phase of a 2 year plan. But the man certainly doesn't look like a Premier in waiting.

Hat Tip - CB



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