Winnipeg Grit has a nasty little run at Bob Rae and his economic record today, a preview of what my Tory friends suggest their attack ads will look like.
It's fair comment. I lived through the Rae years in Ontario, and it was not a picnic. But let's remember it wasn't a picnic anywhere. It was a freaking mess.
But I am not sure it was all Bob's fault.
So here is the speech I'd like to hear from Bob Rae, if or when that fateful day comes.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
My fellow Canadians, there has been a lot said about my years as the Premier of Ontario. And I admit, they were difficult economic times.
They were difficult across the country, and frankly, around the globe.
Under my administration, Ontario's deficit grew.
It grew, just like it grew under the previous administrations - Conservative and Liberal - as we struggled to deal with the reprecussions of a global recession and ridiculous high-interest rate policy driven by the current Prime Minister's Conservative predecessor, Brian Mulroney.
You may say, 'that's ancient history' - and that may be true. But if I am to be accountable for my actions in the my first term almost 20 years ago, then let every be held to the same standard.
It was the worst recession since the Great Depression, and I will admit that mistakes were made.
At the time, I did what every other Premier did, I tried to stimulate growth by increasing spending.
I did not, however, do with with same resolve as my Federal Conservative colleagues who managed to drive the deficit to nearly $40 billion.
Even my government wasn't able to pull that off.
And I did not turn a $5 billion surplus - during one of the biggest economic booms in Ontario's history - into a $2 billion deficit.
If I'd done that, I wouldn't be running for Prime Minister, I would be Stephen Harper's Finance Minister - Jim Flaherty.
I did not cut provincial income taxes for Ontario residents and then demand Ottawa not adjust transfer payments - essentially arguing that those same Ontario taxpayers should hand over the cash as federal income taxes.
When I Ontario did get extra money for Healthcare, I did not spend the money on lawn mowers.
If I had, I'd be Stephen Harper's Health Minister, Tony Clement.
And at no time have I ever advocated that Ontario build a 'firewall' to cut off the province from the rest of Canada.
If I'd done that, I'd be the leader of the Conservative Party, Stephen Harper.
If we want to debate our collective record since the mid-80's bring it on, I say.
But it might be wiser to simply accept that we have all - as Mr. Harper likes to say - evolved, and try to debate our vision for the future.