Ontario Votes June 7th
It’s almost like these elections happen on a regular basis. Once again, we are scheduled to go to the polls on June 7th and once again try to decide which candidate is least likely to make things worse than they already are. This time around, we have a new leader for the Progressive Conservatives in the likes of Doug Ford, who replaces Patrick Brown, who as many will remember was accused of sexual misconduct by a woman a few months back and tossed out by his party. Probably not the best thing that could have happened to the Progressive Conservative party just a few short months ahead of the provincial election, but shit happens as they say. However, once Doug Ford became the leader of the party, the incidents with Patrick Brown seem to have been forgotten or at least put aside until after the election and the Progressive Conservative party easily came out ahead of the other two major parties in the polls.
Liberals Support Dwindling
The Liberals under the leadership of Kathleen Wynne have managed to sink to almost the bottom of the polls, which isn’t all that surprising given all the hands her party has in the pockets of every taxpayer in Ontario along with businesses. I recall posting on Facebook after the last election when the Liberals received a majority in the legislature that those who voted that way would be thinking otherwise for the next election. Not to mention that they would be much lighter in the wallet with a Liberal government. That prediction seems to have come true judging by the polls and where the Liberals are in the standings. However, last election the polls seemed to indicate that the Liberals would not finish well, and they came out of it with a majority.
This past Sunday, the leaders from the three main parties got together for a debate. I was really expecting something better than what I saw. Kathleen Wynne is running her campaign by stating that she understands that people don’t like her, but her policies have been sound over her last term. I think this is rather insulting to the voters as they most likely are not finding fault with her personally, as she is suggesting. Rather, voters are finding fault in her actions and how she has conducted herself during her tenure as premiere. Hydro rates have skyrocketed, and businesses are now subject to a carbon tax which is increasing their bottom line. Not to mention her increase in the minimum wage which has also caused numerous employers to lay off workers as they are unable to afford the wages they must now pay. While the average family is struggling to pay their hydro bills, the Hydro One CEO, along with several others at the utility, received substantial pay raises. The CEO is now being paid over $6,000,000 per year while many families must make a choice between buying groceries or paying their hydro bill.
During the debate, I was most surprised by the performance of the NDP leader, Andrea Horwath. I had thought that she would be cordial and polite and maybe get run over during the debate. However, she turned out to be a bully during the debate and was often cutting off the other leaders to give her version of events or confront her opponents on the answers they were providing. She often interrupted the others while they were speaking and seemed to think the floor was hers alone during the debate. The NDP are currently running neck and neck with the Progressive Conservatives and seem to have a platform that is very similar to the Liberals. The NDP however, are offering to provide free dental care to people in Ontario, which I believe is a wise investment as it has been shown in other countries to reduce health care costs down the road. In other countries such as the United Kingdom, preventative medicine and dental services which are paid for by the government have been quite successful in lowering higher costs procedures in the long term. Healthy people are more productive and lead happier lives than those who don’t receive necessary health and dental care. It remains to be seen if the performance by Andrea Horwath during the debate will result in more votes come election day. But I believe that many watching was probably surprised as I at how she was interrupting others during the debate.
Creeping Me Out
During the debate, Doug Ford kept forcing a smile that was somewhat scary. His smile reminded me of a character from a Stephen King novel or movie and looked very out of place. Despite voting currently taking place in advance polls, the Progressive Conservative leader has still not released a costed platform on his party plans to govern the province should they be successful on June 7th. He took a great deal of criticism from the other two leaders on the fact that his party has no platform posted. Mr. Ford went on to say that should the NDP be successful, that numerous businesses would be packing up their belongings and heading to other pastures, most likely south of the border. He has indicated that if elected he would lower current gas prices by 10 cents a litre and lower everyone’s income taxes by 20%. Unfortunately, he hasn’t provided any numbers on how he would achieve such savings. He did indicate that a government under his party would run a deficit for a couple of years, but that it would be balanced by the third or fourth year. But again, no plan on how this would be done.
Once again, we are left to decide which is the lesser of the three evils. I’m inclined to go the NDP route this election. The deciding factor for myself is simply the free dental program the NDP have said they would set up. Andrea Horwath had indicated during this latest debate that she would not interrupt any strikes by worker’s unions, which can be a scary thought if you consider that emergency public services could essentially be shut down and she would not order them back to work through legislation should an impasse be reached, and talks stalled. There are services that need to continue despite labor issues and telling those workers that under the NDP government they can walk away from a terminated contract and not worry about being legislated back to work while those vulnerable and in need of those services suffer or die to me is just irresponsible. Let’s hope that if the NDP do win the election, there are no collective bargaining agreements coming to an end during their tenure.
Get Out and Vote
No matter who you decide to vote for, get out to your local poll and cast your ballot. Voter turnout rates are some of the lowest we have ever seen over recent years and this needs to change. Many people believe that their vote doesn’t matter. However, every vote counts and higher voter turnouts tell our elected officials that we are listening and taking them to task to do what they say they will do. The way I see it, if you don’t vote, don’t go bitching about what the elected government is doing wrong.
So, get out and vote on June 7th.