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  Sarnia Ontario Canada

Would Bradley seek liberal nomination?

The next provincial election is still over two years away, but it's already over for Sarnia-Lambton MPP Caroline Di Cocco.

Too much has happened for the Liberal politician to recover before voters go to the polls in October 2007.

For one thing, Lambton Generating Station is set to close that year, throwing about 400 people out of work (not counting many more subcontractors who work at the coal-fired plant). The closure, ordered by the Ontario government, will be a $40million body blow to the local economy. Studies show the plant spends about $20 million a year purchasing local goods and services and another $20 million on its payroll. If all that wasn't enough, LGS pays about $2 million a year in taxes to St. Clair Township and Lambton County council.

Then there's the hospital situation. Bluewater Health is cutting its staff by 114 people' by the end of this year, with more likely to follow in 2006. Some are blaming the hospital board but, the truth is, the Liberals are simply not spending enough on health care. The loss of the much-loved palliative care unit alone could be enough to put an end to Di Cocco's political career.

If all of that wasn't enough, we have both Nova and Dow blasting the Grits for the government's controversial 'you spill, you pay' law.

Four months ago Nova Chemicals accused Queen's Park of driving away jobs and investment with policies that are openly hostile to the petrochemical industry.

Last May, Nova boss Jeffrey Lipton said Ontario's unreliable electricity supply and "foolish" environmental legislation are weakening the province's manufacturing base and driving growth to Alberta and the U.S.

Dow Sarnia's site leader, Glen Mutscher, said much the same thing as he announced the company was relocating a research and development lab from the Chemical Valley to Midland, Michigan.

Of course the Liberals did bring labour peace to our schools, but few voters are likely to give them much credit for that. People have forgotten the chaos the education system was mired in when the Tories were in power.

It may not be fair to blame Di Cocco for everything that has gone wrong, but that's probably what's going to happen. This is a riding, remember, that has a history of turfing out incumbent MPPs. It happened to Liberal Paul Blundy, New Democrat Bob Huget and Tory Dave Boushy. Like Di Cocco, they were all likeable, good people who worked tirelessly at their jobs. But in the end that wasn't enough to save them from the wrath of the electorate. Politics, as she will soon find out, can be a cruel business.

In the end, I wouldn't be surprised if Di Cocco didn't even get the Liberal nomination.

Don't be shocked if Mayor Mike Bradley, who came out last week in favour of leaving LGS open until as late as 2011, and who has been vocal in his criticism of hospital cuts, makes a bid for her job. But whether she gets the nomination or not, it's hard to imagine her winning another election.

Dan McCaffery is The Observer's former assignment editor and is now a reporter for the newspaper. He has covered news in Sarnia-Lambton for more than 25 years.

(Dan McCaffery The Observer 2005 10 01)


Date This Page Was Last Up-Dated:  September 02, 2006