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Monday, August 14, 2006

Old myths die hard

Critics (including many Liberals) have been peddling the myth for years that Bob Rae was an ineffective steward of Ontario. I maintain now, as I have all along, that this simply isn't true.

Go ahead. Call me crazy. Call me blindly partisan. Call me drunk (or worse). But I genuinely believe Bob Rae was one of the greatest premiers this province ever had. I thought he governed effectively under harsh conditions. He even did a lot of terrific things as Premier.

Don't believe me? Fine. Believe this. I'd like to pull out one section in particular:

"When Bob Rae assumed office, the province was faced with an economic crisis -- a deepening recession, unprecedented competitive challenges from a Free Trade Agreement with the U.S., high interest rates, an overvalued dollar and a budget deficit of several billion dollars rather than the surplus predicted by the prioradministration. Over 300,000 manufacturing jobs were lost between 1989 and 1992.

"When the Rae government approached the end of its term, Ontario led the way in growth among the provinces and had one of the strongest economies in the G7. Surveys showed strong consumer and business confidence.

"Private sector investment was back with billions in capital spending. Labour productivity was at an all-time high, as were manufacturing exports. Health-care costs were under much improved control as part of a broader strategy that was reducing the deficit."

Will the cynics be satisfied? I don't know. All I can do is try my best.