Even the Toronto Sun?s pollster has declared that the only way John Tory can win next week?s provincial election ?is if Dalton McGuinty makes a colossal blunder."
The real question facing Ontario voters next week is, how big a return vote does our severely flawed incumbent Liberal government deserve?
And will voters be able to carve out a minority government with strong progressive representation? Or do these old-school opportunists get an unfettered free ride with another do-nothing majority?
Like the federal Libs - this was a favourite Paul Martin strategy - McGuinty's Grits have stockpiled their best ideas for the election while governing through a series of broken promises, inaction or retraction.
Torontonians can add McGuinty's government to a long list of elected officials who hoard surpluses and bloated budgets while this city literally collapses under a heap of failing infrastructure.
As for John Tory, just as in his failed mayoralty bid, he's proving to be a short-distance runner who blasts out of the blocks only to falter in the long run - not exactly leadership material
Tory spends as much time racing from the ghosts of reviled fellow-traveller governments like Mike Harris's and Stephen Harper's right-wing fundamentalism as he does clumsily challenging the evasive premier.
There is huge prosperity in Ontario right now, yet thousands still struggle with poverty and homelessness. Tens of thousands are still trying to crawl out from under the attack on social services and environmental programs unleashed by Harris and unrepaired by McGuinty.
We won't pretend that Howard Hampton has ignited the Ontario electorate, and we still wonder why the NDP's message of hope is buried under a silt of self-righteousness and flat communication.
But the NDP is pushing a positive program of caring and sharing: an immediate $10-an-hour minimum wage, a hike in disability benefits, an increase in school funding, the uploading of municipal services to the province and more care for elders in facilities.
We do wonder why Hampton's provincial NDP, along with Jack Layton's federal force, have allowed the upstart Green party to challenge them as the voice of the new.
But as we pick through this colour box of change, contemplating orange and green futures, the Greens remain unelectable and unknown while Hampton's team boasts incumbents and challengers with long track records of activism and legislative innovation.
Here in the city, we are graced with five NDP incumbents who have pushed justice, city and enviro issues with tenacity and passion: Peter Tabuns's Community Right To Know bill on toxins, opposition to the Libs' nuke expansion and Portlands Energy; Paul Ferreira's courageous bid for landlord licensing; Michael Prue's push for the province to pay 50 per cent of TTC costs; Cheri DiNovo's grassroots fight for an increased minimum wage; Rosario Marchese's moves to roll back tuition to pre-McGuinty levels.
All these are reasons to make the NDP caucus a bigger, more resounding voice in our city and province.
We think the undeserving bulldozer of McGuinty's momentum frees everyone from the need to contemplate strategic voting. And we hope our dinosaur voting system gets the heave with a resounding Yes for the MMP referendum so we never have to debate strategics again.
But if you want to shove Tory off the diving board and give full force to his electoral belly flop, vote for Liberal Kathleen Wynne, his education minister opponent in Don Valley West, where the NDP doesn't have a chance. A Tory trashing would send shivers through all unprincipled politicians.
If you want the kind of Toronto that this creative and dynamic city deserves to be, vote for a strong slate of NDP city candidates, and send a strong message of T.O. discontent.
Let's force shape-shifting McGuinty into financing Toronto's future and creating the prosperous, progressive and caring Ontario we want and can afford.