|Wikileaks:||View 05TORONTO2680 at Wikileaks.org|
|Classification:||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY|
|Tags:||PGOV PREL KPAO CA|
|Redacted:||This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS TORONTO 002680 SIPDIS SENSITIVE E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: PGOV, PREL, KPAO, CA SUBJECT: Sorbara's Resignation Trumps Lackluster Ontario Throne Speech Ref: (A) Toronto 2631 (B) 04 Toronto 364 Sensitive but unclassified - Protect accordingly. 1. (SBU) The 23-page October 12 throne speech delivered in an hour-long monotone by Ontario's Lieutenant Governor James Bartleman contained only a few new initiatives: a money-back guarantee to provide birth certificates within 15 days for on-line requestors; and raising the age of mandatory education age from 16 to 18, with the accompanying introduction of an alternative secondary school "trades-focused" diploma. Otherwise, the speech was a recitation of past investments in and incremental adjustments to education, health care, and environmental programs. 2. (SBU) The U.S. was mentioned several times in passing as Ontario's number one trading partner and in connection with the province's focus on fixing border issues. Former Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Kergin, the new borders czar was introduced to the assembly and infrastructure improvements to border gateways in Niagara Falls and Sarnia were included in the recitation. Softwood lumber, agricultural subsidies (in the U.S. and Europe), and BSE were mentioned as check-off items, without much commentary. The Consul General attended the ceremony with the rest of the diplomatic corps. 3. (SBU) Comment: Spectators and cameras were far more interested in former Finance Minister Greg Sorbara, who assumed a backbench seat due to his resignation after being named in an RCMP fraud warrant (see ref (A)). Before the proceedings began, other Liberal MPPs circled round Sorbara with handshakes and embraces. During the throne speech, he rose reluctantly to accept applause from fellow parliamentarians, including some opposition members (Progressive Conservative John Tory among them) when the Lieutenant Governor mentioned that the provincial deficit had declined from C$5.6 billion to C$1.6 billion. The Liberals appear to be successfully limiting fallout from the Sorbara resignation. Accepting Sorbara's prompt offer to resign and moving on helps. Losing Sorbara is, however, "a body blow," as John Tory characterized it; but perhaps one less serious than the press is now reporting. We are left wondering why the RCMP issued the fraud warrant naming Sorbara the day before the long-planned delivery of the throne speech opening the Ontario Parliament. LECROY
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