“I believe that a Speech from the Throne should be written by the people who will be most affected by it, the people of Ontario.”

– Ontario Premier Ernie Eves, quoted in The Globe and Mail, March 13

Fresh from the exhilaration of destroying over a century and a half of parliamentary tradition and any notion of the government being responsible to the legislature (remember, that’s what the Rebellions of 1837 were all about), Ernie Eves issued this kind invitation to all Ontarians.

I’ve decided to take him up on his generous offer to help him write the next Tory Throne Speech. Here’s what my first draft looks like

Mr. Speaker (you ungrateful wretch), it pains me to have to be here in the legislative chamber, that public space for which my government has so much contempt. Here we must face elected officials representing people who were not gullible enough to vote for the governing party in the last election. These MPPs actually think that they have the right to hold my government accountable by asking questions and proposing alternatives. As the Premier told the CBC last week, “These critics are too caught up in the political system to realize that regular people don’t care where a budget announcement is made.”

Because we are required to pretend that we still live in a democracy, the people of Ontario will soon have the opportunity to cast their votes in a provincial election. There is no point in pretending otherwise, as my government has been systematically raiding the public treasury to pay for one-sided election-style ads for more than a year. And what is the public treasury for if not to promote the interests of the governing party and to reward party organizers who have set themselves up as high-priced consultants? One thing that my government strives to avoid as much as possible is to allow the squandering of your tax dollars on the actual provision of public services.

Reflecting on the past eight years in which my government has been in power, it’s clear that we have fundamentally changed the way that Ontario is run. Where people without jobs could once count on the social assistance system to help them house, clothe and feed their families, we now require them to submit to endless humiliations and punishments in order to get their meager cheques. After cancelling all social housing construction, and eliminating rent control, we now allow the private sector to build affordable housing. The fact that they don’t actually do so is not my government’s concern, because we all know instinctively that the free market system works (in theory).

The people who died in the Walkerton water tragedy were but like road kill on the privatized 407 — unfortunate, but necessary casualties of our drive towards privatization and deregulation. Privatizing and deregulating the electrical power system was our next step. Though it didn’t work, we proudly made cosmetic changes, and we moved ahead with our ideological agenda. We’ve already privatized prisons, long-term care, the Province of Ontario Savings Office and driver examinations. Soon, we’ll be privatizing land registry offices & and anything else that isn’t nailed down. We do it because we know that the free market system works (for our high priced consultants, at least).

Ontario used to have the highest minimum wage in the country. My government has successfully changed that. Now, we have one of the lowest. Our labour relations legislation and employment standards now rival Alabama’s. Our health care and education systems have been so starved for resources that our private sector strategies are actually starting to look good to some people. My government is proud of the crises that it has invented. We are confident that the people of Ontario will be so pleased with the results that they will want to reward us with another term, so that we can finish the job of eliminating public services and replacing them with inferior, for-profit alternatives.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker (you ungrateful wretch). Now let’s get out of here and go to the television studio.

I’m hoping that other people will want to join me in offering their assistance to the government in their time of need.

Send your comments to:

Ernie Eves, Premier. Legislative Building, Queen’s Park , Toronto ON M7A 1A1

Or e-mail the Premier at: [email protected]

Of course, some cynics will suggest that Ernie Eves was insincere in making this invitation. Or that it wasn’t really intended as an invitation at all — merely a throwaway line fed to him by one of the three consultants that the Speaker of the Legislature says are now running the province. So, just in case this is true, it might be wise to send a copy of your suggestions to your local newspaper for publication as a letter to the editor.


Scott Piatkowski

Scott Piatkowski is a former columnist for rabble.ca. He wrote a weekly column for 13 years that appeared in the Waterloo Chronicle, the Woolwich Observer and ECHO Weekly. He has also written for Straight...