The two most marketable ministers are Charles Sousa, the minister of finance, and Eric Hoskins, who helms the province’s $52-billion health care budget. Both are expected to bring in as much as $500,000 a year, well-placed sources have confirmed.
Sousa’s control of the provincial treasury, tax policy and auto insurance makes him a prime target for lobbyists in the banking and insurance industries. But Hoskins is also in high demand because of his regulatory authority over drug companies and nursing home conglomerates.
That’s why Hoskins was the big draw for the Ontario Long Term Care Association at an event organized with the Liberal Fund last year, which offered “an unprecedented opportunity only for OLTCA members” where they could “discuss the sector with the minister, up close and personal.”
Hoskins defends his interactions with such interest groups, describing it as “an important way, I think for Ontarians to participate in the democratic process.” Asked directly about his annual target assigned by the party, Hoskins chose his words carefully: “I do my best to contribute to the party — I think that’s what I’m prepared to say about it.”
There are Hamilton mobsters with a greater subtlety of manner. There are also few gangsters quite so cynical as to use the phrase "participate in the democratic process" about something so inherently undemocratic. The Liberal Party treats the English language in much the same way a drunken sailor treats a Marseilles whore. I would describe this sort of behaviour as influence peddling, however actual influence peddlers aren't so fantastically brazen.
So long as there have been governments there have been people trying to manipulate those who administer the functions of the state. Most sensible political leaders understand that this behaviour - while often unavoidable - is incredibly unjust and a veil of discretion is necessary. By definition governments screw over ordinary people. Thing is that the clever governments try to make it seem as if they're not screwing over the ordinary man or woman. That tiny pretense has been entirely dropped by the Ontario Liberals. They are so arrogantly corrupt they no longer care who knows it.
The above article isn't taken from the National Post - which does little investigative journalism anymore - or the Toronto Sun, but the Toronto Star. When a Liberal government comes under fire from the Red Star you know things have past a certain point. In a healthy democracy the Wynnesters would be on their way out. But this is Ontario and very sadly it's 2016.
Even back when Leslie Frost was running the province - in that dark epoch known as the 1950s - it was understood that many of his ministers were a tad corrupt. Nothing on the scale of the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals, the provincial government hadn't grown to its current Leviathan proportions in those days. Yet the voters of Ontario returned Mr Frost three times with a majority, the only Premier to have accomplished such a feat since the days of Oliver Mowatt. The electorate then understood that most politicians are crooks, but if the guy at the top was basically honest and competent he'd keep his fellow crooks in line. That logic collapses before the withered visage of Kathleen Wynne. Here is a leader so corrupt she urges her subordinates to ever greater heights of blatant corruption.
Holding a corrupt government to account is easy enough: Throw the Bums Out. This is a time honoured tradition in Canada. Even John A was tossed out of power because the voters thought he was a bum after the Pacific Scandal. Having a cat's wits and nine lives the drunken wizard of Kingston had returned to the voters good graces by the time of the next election. Thing is that the voters of modern Ontario have lost the instinct to punish corrupt governments. There was more than enough evidence in 2007 that the McGuinty Liberals were rotten to the core. Yet they won. And then again in 2011 and 2014. The last time around the stench was so obvious other parts of the country were beginning to notice. It didn't matter.
A key component of effective democratic governments is the idea that the people are more honest than those who govern them. I don't think that holds any longer in Ontario. A critical mass of the electorate is at least as corrupt as the Liberals. They are fine with voting in corrupt bastards because they're convince they'll personally benefit from such corruption. This is why recent polls indicating that Kathleen Wynne has only a 20% approval rating are meaningless. Come 2018 the Wicked Witch of Queen's Park will make her usual pitch: The Tories are rich racists who'll take away all your free stuff. The barely sentient mannequin the Tories will be running in 2018 - John Hudak Brown I believe is his name - will effortless fall into the various traps laid by the Liberals and lose pathetically for the fifth time in a row.
Mencken observed that people get the governments they deserve. The people of Ontario are about to get it good and hard.