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Ontario Family Drama
With Premier Dad moving out, how will Toronto handle its teen angst?

Outgoing Premier Dalton “Dad” McGuinty. Image via flickr user BC Gov Photos

WARNING: This column contains a nauseating level of commitment to a metaphor.

Among many insightful nuggets of wisdom, former Toronto Standard contributor Ivor Tossell’s new e-book The Gift of Ford rightly points out that Toronto is a young megacity (amalgamated in 1998) and that Mayor Rob Ford is a manifestation of our rebellious teen years. Now, as if our own tendency to throw angsty tantrums wasn’t putting enough strain on our provincial family, we’re going through a divorce.

Dalton McGuinty’s resignation and prorogation of the Ontario legislature is like a father finally walking out on his family because he couldn’t take the endless squabbling. No doubt, many of those squabbles were of Premier Dad’s own making — he never did get a handle on his lack-of-oversight-at-Provincial-agencies-like-ORNGE-and-eHealth habit — and the constant bickering has driven him out “after everything [he's] done for this family!”

Despite his imperfections, McGuinty made for a pretty decent Premier Dad to Toronto. The 2011 election results show that most Torontonians agreed that he was getting the “big things” right. He granted us the responsibility and power of self-determination we so desperately wanted with the City of Toronto Act in 2006. Most recently, he trusted us to make our own decision on what transit we wanted to build (even though he shorted us on our allowance -  $8.4 bil when he promised us $12.4 bil). He stood by us when we changed our mind (Transit City is dead!) and didn’t chide us when we changed our mind again (Long live Transit City!). Letting us make our own mistakes was part of his tough-but-fair parenting style.

But now, Dalton’s going out for a ride and never coming back. Even though it’s nothing we did wrong, and mom and dad still love us very much, it looks like another familiar outburst is coming: Mom is looking to get re-married, and maybe quick.

 (“Mom” in this metaphor is “Ontario” I think. Like, the land and the people and everything.)

Tim Hudak thinks he can just swoop in and suddenly everything will be back to normal? It’s so clear he’s manipulating mom in her fragile state before she can really take stock of what’s in her best interest. Meanwhile, he’s trying to buy us off with the promise of two Christmases (subways! And tax cuts!) But it’s just a bunch of malarkey – he can’t pay for it. He wants to take away the keys to our TTC, which we pay for with our own money. Apparently, Tim knows best.

He’s pitting us against ourselves by digging up this old sore point that we had already put to rest, pretending he cares but all he wants is to get laid and move into our house. He just seems sleazy, but mom is really thinking about marrying him. That’s crazy! What does she even see in him? Tim is the WORST. He probably reminds her of her dad and it just feels safe. Maybe Ontario wants that but Toronto needs to be in charge of our own future.

Is there any way Dalton can still be our Premier on weekends and holidays, just until we’re old enough to move out?


Michael Kolberg is The Sprawl Editor at Toronto Standard. Follow him on Twitter for jokes @mikeykolberg

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