|Mike Harris, author of the|
Common Sense De-evolution
Rae was Ontario's first and only NDP Premier and is remembered only for his wildly unpopular "Rae Days" which forced thousands of public sector workers to take unpaid days off in an effort to attack the Ontario deficit. Rae was soundly criticized by his power-base- organized labour- and the millions of Ontarians who were effected by this restriction in services. I myself have terribly painful memories of it's impact when my then pregnant wife was experiencing complications and needed to get an emergency ultra-sound and couldn't because all the technicians were on a "Rae Day". But while Rae became unpopular for this move, it saved many public service jobs, in contrast to the Federal Conservatives slash and burn strategy regarding public servants.
So when Mike Harris came along, waving his blue book that seemed to contain all of the answers to all of our problems, the majority of Ontario voters were quick to jump on board. Harris presented himself as a grass-roots kind of guy with a down to earth kind of logic that backed his 'revolution". He was the "anti-Rae", the antithesis of what was commonly believed to be the usual "entitled" political elite. (not unlike Toronto's Rob Ford today).
But Harris's "Common Sense" approach was to attack the public services in a way that was down right blood-thirsty. He slashed Welfare and bade recipients purchase dented 69 cent cans of tuna. He cut health care, closed hospitals and John Snobelen's "useful" artificially created crisis in Education resulted in two teacher's strikes. And Harris closed his ears, stayed his disastrous course and refused to acknowledge the growing criticism and upheaval in Ontario. He had an agenda and he intended to see it through. The horrendous impact these policies had on the province are still being felt today, ten tears after Harris has left the political stage. Despite his so-called grass-roots common sense, Harris was no friend of the common man.
But there is a direct connection between Mike Harris's "Rule-By-Sledgehammer" government and Stephen Harper's "Shock and Awe" reign of terror. The most obvious connection occurs when we take a peek inside the Harper Cabinet.
|Tony "The Gazebo|
|Bombastic Baird never learned|
to use his "indoor voice"
The personification of all
that is wrong with the Senate.
Another little known connection between the two regimes, is that from 1997 to 2002, which was the majority of the Harris years, Stephen Harper was president of the uber-right leaning and highly secretive National Citizens Coalition. The Ontario arm of the NCC, Ontarians for Responsible Government were major backers of the Common Sense Revolution. But due to their highly secretive nature, it is impossible to know to what extent Harper and his connections had in funding and influencing Harris's agenda.
|Harris the Fraser Fellow|
Harper won his recent Majority on the strength of heavy campaigning in key Ontario swing ridings. In 2015, he will likely duplicate this strategy. He needs Ontario to win. So when Canada goes to the polls in the next federal election, Ontarians would do well to remember the painful legacy of Mike Harris because he and Stephen Harper are not only cut from the same cloth, they are also well connected and Stephen the Terrible is merely duplicating Harris's agenda only on a national level.
|Yes, and little "Timmy the Terrible"|
was also there.
|Harper and Harris. |
A 2008 meeting of the