Tim Hudak, Andrea Horwath, Kathleen Wynne, and Insurance

This is an opinion piece, sort-of a rant of frustration. If you don’t live in Ontario you probably don’t care.

Let’s begin with Tim Hudak. The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce, sponsored by the Niagara Home Builders’ Association, will be hosting Tim Hudak at a luncheon. It is my understanding that Mr. Hudak says we don’t need a Liberal budget, or a new budget at all; what we need is a new government. I believe he has stated that he will refuse to support this budget, despite not having read it.

So, now for Dumb Question #1: do you think the ability to refuse to read, makes you a better potential provincial premier? As a follow-on, do these obvious business ties make Mr. Hudak a clear candidate for improving the lot of ordinary (potentially unemployed) citizens?

Let’s continue with Ms. Horwath. (I warned you that this was a rant of frustration.) The current premier of Ontario proposed a budget. The NDP, including Ms. Horwath, requested (demanded?) additional features. Those features were added, including the treacherous insurance costs promise. Now we find that Ms. Horwath is producing more demands, on almost a daily basis, for her party’s support of the budget.

So, now for Dumb Question #2: do you think this kind of in-the-papers negotiation qualifies Ms. Horwath as a better provincial premier? And, as a follow-on, do you think these tactics will make for a smooth Ontario parliament?

On to Kathleen Wynne. There’s a wee bit of waffling on the car insurance premium decrease of 15% demanded by Ms. Horwath. Maybe it can’t be done quickly. But I beg to differ.

In this page, we read that in Ontario, automobile insurance is regulated by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, a regulatory agency of the Ministry of Finance. Here you will find that claims were reduced in order to maintain and reduce premiums. Of course, the insurance industry, imho, simply took the reduced injury claims into profit.

The Ontario auto insurance industry was given a one-time profit boost, practically overnight. Now we want that boost back – in the form of reduced premiums – and we’re being told, it’s going to take slow steps. In effect, the waffling mentioned above is due, perhaps, to fear: the car insurance companies could lock shields and refuse insurance to those drivers or driver-groups whose inclusion in premium reductions might most affect profit.

Dumb Question #3: was Kathleen Wynne nuts to suggest she could reduce auto insurance premiums? Follow-on question: did Andrea Horwath propose this specific (fifteen percent) reduction suspecting that the insurance industry would react?

So, as the budget comes up for a vote, what do you think is a reasonable outcome?

Failure of a confidence vote (the budget) leading to an election which may or may not select Tim Hudak?

Failure of a confidence vote (the budget) leading to an election which may or may not reward Andrea Horwath for intransigence?

Failure of a confidence vote (the budget) leading to an election to punish Kathleen Wynne for being somewhat reasonable, if perhaps a trace naive?

Passing of the budget?

Dumb Question #4: what do you think will be the result, if the budget is passed? I said earlier that this was a sort-of rant, and here it comes: my predictions, assuming the budget passes:

  • Tim Hudak will continue to say that a new government is needed, and continue, as if on principle, to refuse support to any initiative whatsoever by the Ontario Liberals.
  • Andrea Horwath will claim magnificent success, being wholly responsible for everything good that happens next in Ontario, because she wields the balance of power.
  • Kathleen Wynne will keep quiet, assemble her allies, and wait. Perhaps a bit more cautiously with insurance promises.

Last dumb question: Comments, anyone?


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