Ernie Eves and the Illegal Budget

Canadians are smug: Hear hear for Ernie Eves:

I’m still not sure what the big deal about the Ontario government’s decision to release the budget outside of the legislature. As Ernie says, the house will not be sitting. […] And how can it be “a slap in the face to parliamentary democracy”. It’s our money!

First of all, the legislature is not sitting because the Conservative party dissolved the provincial Parliament until April 30. Secondly, Ernie Eves is presenting the provincial budget, arguably the most major event in the parliamentary calendar, to the public before the legislature has the chance to debate and grant approval. By doing so, Eves is effectively stating that the opinion of your provincial representative, and by extension your opinion, does not matter, and that he will do what he damned well pleases. This decision insults not only every MPP in the legislature, but also every voter in the province of Ontario. If you aren’t insulted, you aren’t paying attention. Thirdly, this presentation, which will take place before a hand-picked private audience in an environment controlled by the Premier, is obviously a pre-election photo opportunity for the flagging Conservatives, paid for by your tax dollars. Lastly, conservatives usually respect the tradition of institutions and this change not only sets a horrible precedence but also runs contrary to what Ernie Eves has argued in the past:

In 1992, alluding to then-premier Bob Rae, Mr. Eves told the legislature: “How does his government expect the opposition and the public to treat his government with any respect if he does not treat the system we’re operating in with any respect?”

Personally, I can’t wait for the next provincial election. This budget fiasco is one of many situations where the Ontario Conservatives have been surprisingly up-front with their disdain for the provincial voters. At practically every turn they have proceeded with their agenda regardless of public opinion. Sadly, this seems to be an ever-growing trend in so-called “democratic” governments.

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