I remember growing up in rural Eastern Ontario in the 1970s and hearing my father complain about caretaker politicians, so-called do-nothing ministers of large portfolios who didn’t do much of anything. Sometimes I prefer the caretaker minister to the ones who suggest anything because the ones with big ideas today just seem to make things worse.
Not surprisingly, a new poll suggests most Canadians don’t trust government. Imagine how shocking the poll would have been if those most appalled hadn’t declined to comment.
Unless the province is going to undo completely useless and counter-productive schemes like the Green Energy Act and cap and trade, almost everything else is just tinkering. Every new big plan just seems to make life a little harder for the society’s most stabilizing force, the family that includes children and hard-working mothers and fathers. Each new regulation or law just erects another hurdle for the economy’s main generator of jobs and prosperity: Small businesses.
We’ve just seen a minor shuffle in the Ontario Liberal cabinet. Our Ag Minister Jeff Leal is now also the minister of small business: A nice guy who supported shutting down the use of neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seeds to save the honeybee when all the science came back saying the honeybees are doing fine. Not a word from the minister on that. He supported the neonic-restriction based on an argument he couldn’t defend. He encouraged putting shackles on crop farmers in favour of the precautionary principle. It’s like banning cars until we can guarantee no one will ever get hurt. No one lives their life like that. The precautionary principle runs contrary to how business people think. Business people are risk takers. They had to be to start their businesses. Leal is now in charge of regulating them.
To be successful, it will be up to him to seek ways to unleash business opportunities and potential and not just for those who donate to the Liberal Party. He’ll need to really listen to the needs of small business owners. Because as it stands, there could be hundreds of businesses ready to follow the many that have already closed up shop here to expand into the United States because of much lower electricity costs.
Turning around the exodus and the frustration would require rethinking Ontario’s politically-correct environmentalist agenda. So, don’t hold your breath.
Leal’s choices aren’t pretty. Take on a mountain, act as caretaker or do some tinkering in between.