Ontario’s Common Sense Revolution at 20: A Look Back

Today marks 20 years since the Progressive Conservative Party foisted its so-called “Common Sense Revolution” on Ontario.

Former PC Ontario leader Tim Hudak took to Twitter this morning to extol the virtues of this full-throated neoliberal experiment, declaring it “the most effective, courageous gov[ernment]” in his lifetime.

Some remember those days differently. Here are a few highlights of the “Common Sense Revolution” (1995-99) and the subsequent “Blue Print” era (1999-2003).

Many Ontarians are still dealing with the aftermath of heartless program cuts initiated by the PC regime and the general neoliberal political culture that continues today at the provincial, federal and municipal (in Toronto) levels of government.

This is not a day to celebrate.

Marilyn’s Vitamins – October Monday (from Politics on the Dancefloor, 1998)


An illegal strike but they’re still gonna fight
And who gives a fuck what the papers say
One October Monday

And a bastard in a 500 dollar suit
Is calling you a special interest group
One October Monday

Lies poured in at the final hour
The whole thing’s still just a matter of power
And the goddamn bill was still the same
Even though the minister’s face might have changed

So no matter how vilified
They’re out standing on the picket line
Tell me which is a more unlawful act
The abuse of power or trying to take it back

So many without a choice
Counting the days till they’re unemployed
But the jobs at the bottom don’t have to be lost
If everyone on the ladder took a tiny loss

And I’d rather have rape crisis centers
Than 10,000 dollar Tory dinners
A system set up that only caters to some
And the broken ladder’s blamed on the bottom rung


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