I've always been a fan of parties releasing their platforms early - it gives you time to define yourself, and show voters what you stand for. Which in Tim Hudak's case, seems to be largely what Dalton McGuinty stands for. Here's how Adam Radwanski describes it:
Change for the sake of change.
That, roughly, is Tim Hudak’s estimate of what Ontarians want in this year’s provincial election. So on Sunday, the Progressive Conservative Leader unveiled a platform – “changebook” – that gives voters the option of keeping most of Dalton McGuinty’s priorities, without keeping Dalton McGuinty.
Sure, Hudak dangles a few carrots, but the HST, corporate tax cuts, and all-day kindergarten are here to stay, and Hudak promises only a few administrative tweaks to the Health Care system. This follows up recent flip-flips on the Human Rights Tribunal and health premiums. Sure, he's still promising to scale back the Green Energy Act, but it's unclear where he'll find the kilowatts to accomplish this and still follow through on McGuinty's promise to close Ontario's coal plants by 2014.
There are, of course, a few populist trinkets recycled from the federal election - income splitting for couples and removing the HST from home heating fuels. While these will be popular, they do open up Hudak to the "hidden agenda" attack. After all, Hudak will not be able to pay for his $3-11 billion in goodies (depending on how you count it) solely by having 6 fewer Cabinet Ministers.
So expect the Liberals to counter with some nasty hidden agenda commercials once we get closer to Election Day. For now, the OLP has launched a feel-good spot - it's a minute long, very similar in style to the positive beer commercials run by Harper last election.