With polls showing a dead heat in the provincial election race and no clear winner in Tuesday night’s debate, Dalton McGuinty is leaning on a simple campaign tactic: fear mongering. The Toronto Sun reports that the Premier warned voters that Tim Hudak doesn’t have the stones to stand up to Stephen Harper, and voters should choose “a champion for Ontario who is prepared to get his elbows up.” (We suggest McGuinty avoid any metaphors dealing with hands or elbows for the next few days.)
The Toronto Sun has the story:
McGuinty told a morning rally in Vaughan that he cannot imagine Hudak negotiating a great deal for the province with fellow Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
“If we’ve got one guy here in Ontario that’s focused on cuts, we’ve got another guy in Ottawa who’s now talking about looming cuts—you know, that’s double the cuts,” McGuinty said.
“And I’m very concerned about the impact that’s going to have on our province. So we’re going to need a strong Ontario champion to speak up for our interests.”
Of course, we don’t dispute the value of explaining the larger (potential) implications of an election to voters, and Harper’s efforts to scrub the Internet of any mention of a Conservative hat trick doesn’t make the situation appear any less ominous. But we also find this kind of campaign tactic a little desperate. We saw George Smitherman use it during the mayoral campaign, and look how that worked out for him. Plus, his last-ditch effort to stop Rob Ford’s momentum only meant less talk about policy and more talk about how bad it would be if Ford were elected.
Besides, if McGuinty really wants to win the fear demographic, there’s another Conservative name he should be dropping: Mike Harris. No, not that one.