Ontario averts election, for now

Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, February 15 2012.The threat of a sizzling summer election in Ontario has melted away.

After three months of public quarreling and several days of intense finance committee hearings, the province's New Democrats are saying that they will allow the minority Liberal government's budget to pass in the legislature on Wednesday.

One thing that has clearly emerged from these months of wrangling, however, is that the Liberals, the NDP, and the Conservatives don't like each other.

That would be fine if this was a majority government, but in a minority government at least two of the parties need to find a way to work together for the legislature to function.

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As an example of the disdain the parties feel for each other, finance minister Dwight Duncan called a press conference, Tuesday afternoon, where he spent little time touting the merits of his budget and a lot of time launching cheap insults at the opposition parties.

"The NDP failed to realize that a deal really is a deal," Duncan said, maintaining that the Liberals and NDP reached an agreement on passage of the budget "in April, and then in May" with the incorporation of NDP-suggested tax levy on the rich.

"The time for substantive debate was earlier than the clause-by-clause debate [that took place last week]."

Duncan followed up, more bluntly, with: "it's hard to trust Ms. Horwath's word, and it's hard to take the NDP's word at face value."

The NDP responded with name calling, dubbing McGuinty a bully.

"What this premier did, quite frankly, is act a little bit like a bully," NDP House Leader Gilles Bisson told 680 News.

"Andrea Horwath stood up and did what you always do with a bully, and that is you don't give up to intimidation."

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Not to leave the Conservatives out,  last week Liberal MPP Yasir Naqvi said the Tories were like children with ice cream.

"They asked for chocolate ice cream, so we gave them chocolate ice cream, now they're spitting it out," he said with regards to the Tories voting with the NDP on certain budget amendments at committee.

Liars, bullies, and "children with ice cream."

Ontarians may have averted a summer election, but they're left with a dysfunctional legislature.

(CP Photo)