Worth repeating: Why Kathleen Wynne has become a great NDP premier


Say what you will about Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, she is not going to go down without a fight.

韦恩目前的认同率是12%, 糟糕到把此数字放大三倍后还是比美国总统川普低。许多政治领袖在这种情况下都会自己卷铺盖走人。事实上,有些自由党重量级已经要求韦恩自己辞职。他们希望她走人, 这样在明年6月省选前,安省自由党可以有一个新党魁。

Her approval rating of 12 per cent is so bad that it could triple and still be worse than Donald Trump's. Many political leaders faced with a number like that would resign, and in fact some prominent Liberals have been calling on Ms. Wynne to do just that. They want her gone, and a new leader in place, before the general election scheduled for June of next year.

恰恰相反, 在党内仍有许多支持者的韦恩大人为了自己的政治前程,抛出一系列野心勃勃的新法。过去一年来恩,韦恩政府出台了或许诺将出台一系列的政治改革,包括政治捐献,犯人保释,法院案件排期,单独监禁,警察随机盘问,安省土地管理局。

Instead, Ms. Wynne - who still has many supporters in the party - has undertaken an ambitious legislative agenda aimed at saving her political hide. Over the past year, her government has reformed or promised to reform a lengthy list of hot-buttons items, including political fundraising, the bail system, overcrowded courts, solitary confinement, police carding and the Ontario Municipal Board.

韦恩的自由党还许诺,从明年一月开始实施25岁以下的年轻人药费全免, 扩大房租控制的范围和将安省的电费降低25%的新政策。

The Liberals have also promised to introduce a pharmacare program for youths under 25 in January, expand rent controls, and lower Ontarians' massive electricity bills by 25 per cent this year.

今年5月30日,韦恩还拿出了她的杀手锏: 她要大幅度增加最低工资, 保护那些弱势的低薪员工, 使成立工会更加容易, 以及其他让那些在传统企业里有工作保障,但面对转型的工人日子更好过。

And on May 30, 2017, Ms. Wynne delivered what she hopes will be her coup de grace: a sharp increase in the minimum wage, new protections for vulnerable low-wage employees, an easier path to unionization, and other measures to make life easier for workers in an economy that is shifting away from traditional job security.

所有这些政策咋看都像出自新民主党之手。担心自己退出历史舞台的同时抛出一个平衡的预算, 韦恩大人把自己变成了自由党的反对党。

It's all very NDP, which is the point. Energized by the threat of extinction, and armed with a balanced budget, Ms. Wynne has become her own opposition party. It's like she's been shouting at herself from across the aisle at Queen's Park, demanding that she deal with pressing issues, and then listening to her own harangues.

感谢省长大人的主动出击, 新民主党在左顷的道路上已经落在韦恩的后面了。与此同时, 右倾的保守党在新党魁的领导下, 突然发现他们很难从那些准备拿更高的底薪, 付更低的电费,更便宜的药费以及更多廉租房的选民中得到选票了。

Thanks to the Premier's activism, the NDP will be less able to outflank her on the progressive front. The Progressive Conservatives, meanwhile, under new leader Patrick Brown, may find it more difficult next spring to attract voters who happen to be enjoying higher wages, lower utility bills, cheaper drugs and more secure housing.

即使如此,这不等于韦恩在明年大选中稳操胜券。虽然选民历来不长记性,但他们不是白痴, 比如他们会觉察到, 绝望的自由党怎么突然大发慈悲了呢?

That doesn't mean, though, that Ms. Wynne has fought her way off the ropes and back into the centre of the ring. Voters' memories may be notoriously short, but voters have other faculties as well, such as the ability to detect the desperation in the Liberals' sudden acquisition of a conscience.

也许你还没有忘记, 正是这个韦恩的自由党多年来逼别人拿钱来换取与省长和厅长们见面的机会。也正是这个麦坚迪当政的自由党只是为了呆在台上, 在2013年取消了两个天然气发电厂, 让安省纳税人为此付帐单。还是韦恩的自由党用金钱拢络安省各教师工会, 把劳资谈判延期到明年省选以后, 同时向他们许诺, 如果赢得大选, 自由党将在今后的劳资谈判中奖励各教师工会的合作。

Ms. Wynne's party, you'll remember, was hard-pressed for years to see anything untoward in selling access to the Premier and to cabinet ministers in exchange for donations. It was the Liberals under Dalton McGuinty who backtracked for political reasons and stuck taxpayers with the bill for two cancelled gas-powered electrical generation plants in 2013. It's the Wynne Liberals who bought peace with the teacher's unions by extending their contracts past next year's election date, and promised them a nice reward for their cooperation in future negotiations, if re-elected.

自由党不是要降低你的电费吗? 可那是通过以延长与安省发电有关的债务还款时间换来的。这种债务重组的结果在短期是把电费降下来了, 但长期来讲, 安省百姓将付出更多的电费。

That decrease in your hydro bill? That comes courtesy of the cynical refinancing of the province's hydro-related debt, so that in the long run Ontarians will pay more, while benefiting from lower bills in the short run.

租金控制不是很得人心吗? 但这会弄巧成捉, 因为开发商不会再建市场缺乏的出租房。

Rent controls? They are popular but may backfire by prompting developers to stop building much-needed new rental units.

现在, 安省的工薪族将享受最低工资的上涨和其他新福利。当然,韦恩5月30日宣布某些举措还是值得赞扬的。比如, 迫使雇主向临时工支付全职工同样的工资,保护那些没有拿到工资的工人。

And now we have an increase in the minimum wage and other new benefits for wage-earning Ontarians. Some of the measures announced Tuesday are laudable, such as making employers pay temporary workers the same wages as full-time ones, and protecting workers who complain about unpaid wages.

韦恩紧随其他左倾的二级政府, 比如阿尔泊塔, 安省也不管三七二十一在2018年10月把最低工资升到$15/小时。

And the higher minimum falls in line with a trend in jurisdictions that lean to the left. Like Alberta, for now anyway, where the minimum wage will rise to $15 per hour in October, 2018.

问题是, 安省的最低工资也许涨得太快了。它将从目前的$11.40/小时涨到明年一月的$14/小时,一年以后再涨到$15/小时。7个月后,那些靠最低工资生存的各种生意将面临人工成本增加23%, 在其后的12月再面临人工成本增加, 总体人工成本增加32%。

But Ontario's minimum wage may be rising too quickly. It will jump from $11.40 per hour to $14 on January 1, and then to $15 a year later. Businesses that rely on minimum-wage employees are going to see a 23-per-cent increase in their salary costs in seven months, and an overall increase of 32 per cent when the $15 minimum kicks in a year later.

商家将难以在短期内消化这种大幅度人工成本的增加。虽然经济界和社会界对提升最低工资的做法有各种不同的看法, 尤其是目前在服务业和合同工越来越多的情况下。韦恩的自由党政府理应老老实实地在最后一分钟宣布提高最低工资前, 好好分析一下它对安省中小企业的影响。

Those are massive cost increases for businesses to swallow in a short amount of time. So, while there are economic and social arguments for raising minimum wages - especially in an era when the service sector and contract work are growing - the Wynne government should have provided an honest analysis of the impact of its last-minute announcements on Ontario's small and medium-sized companies.

遗憾的是, 韦恩大人管不了这么多了。她在过去12个月马不停蹄, 因为未来12个月将有一场决定她政治生命是生、是死的恶战。她需要不停地抛出那些能在大选前实施的政策。对她来说, 先保住乌沙帽再说, 管它这些新政策的后果如何!

But there was no time for that. Ms. Wynne has been a busy premier for the past 12 months, because in another 12 months she will be in the middle of the election fight of her life. She needs things to announce now so that she can deliver them before the writ is dropped, consequences be damned.


In Ontario, Liberal premiers come and go, but Liberal political expedience never dies.


Note: The Editorial was published by The Globe and Mail on May 30, 2017. Translated by Jack Jia, Chinese News.

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