Know who Mike Harris is? Sure you do. Former notorious Ontario Conservative Premier. Notorious of course mainly for having the gall to actually keep his promises despite tremendous pressure from the Ontario Left. Mike Harris proved himself to be the most principled Conservative Politician in the last 30 years.
That being said there was one thing that Mike Harris did do that I was never a big fan of and thought was totally inconsistent with Conservative Principles: Amalgamation.
See Conservatives believe that the best government is the smallest government because it's closest to the people. Conservatives, in general, believe that the more you can push powers down to the local level and even to the individual the better. Individuals are far better makers of decisions that governments. Similarly decentralizing power to the lowest level follows the same principle.
It's prevents huge centralized bureaucracies from taking power with supreme powers which inevitably leads to huge corruption.
Well Mike Harris seemed to ignore that principle when it came to amalgamating municipalities. His government argued that their were efficiency gains to be had by taking all the municipalities in Toronto and making one super city.
Of course they did apply that practice when it came to downloading responsibilities to the municipalities making the disconnect in principles clear.
So that brings me back to Randy Hillier. He's running for leader of the Ontario PC Party to defeat Dalton McGuinty and Become Premier of Ontario himself. Well recently he released a proposed new policy when it comes to municipalities embodied in a piece of legislation they intend to call the Municipal Reform Act.
Hillier says he plans to bring forward legislation that would allow municipalities to de-amalgamate. He claims that de-amalgamation will see decision making return to a local level and will help restore community identities. (link)
That's right. De-Amalgamation.
Mr Hillier has proposed to undo what was essentially the one socialist thing Mike Harris ever did.