Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sometimes You Just Have To Hold Your Nose

It would never occur to me to withhold my vote in any election. Yet the one occurring in Ontario on June 12 is particularly striking in its paucity of real choice. I can't remember a campaign for which I have felt less enthusiasm.

Of course, Tim Hudak's extremism disqualified him as anyone worth considering long ago. His palpable anti-unionism, although muted in this campaign, would surely resurface in full bloom should he ever become premier. Coupled with his contempt of public service, he is a viable candidate only for those with blunt minds, those who take comfort in stark choices and worldviews.

The Liberals come with some terrible baggage and the ennui that inevitably characterizes a regime too long in power. While the gas plant debacle has had the most prominence, there have been many others that call into question their fitness to continue in office. And then there is the latest reminder of their way of doing business, the MaRs planned bailout that is just gaining traction as we move into the final stretch of the campaign.

The third major party, the NDP led by Andrea Horwath, also offers real problems for the conscientious voter. Her failure to support a Liberal budget that had much to offer progressives, on the pretext that she doesn't trust them to keep their word, along with her devolution into populist politics and policies, have led many to abandon any hope for her party. It is hard to escape the notion that power at the expense of principle is the NDP's defining characteristic under her leadership.

Because we are soon going away for a week to visit our kids in Alberta, we will likely vote today in an advance poll. Since I always try to be honest in this blog, I will tell you who we are casting our vote for, in case you are interested. It is Kathleen Wynne's Liberals who, despite the above, seem the least odious of the three major parties on offer.

Hardly a ringing endorsement, I'm sure.


  1. Where is the Green Party in all of this?

    In NB, we'll soon be faced with a similar choice - Liberals we have recent reason to distrust vs. an NDP that has run to the right of the Liberals with promises of cutting taxes, down-sizing the civil service and increasing resource extraction.

    1. Believe me, Wendell, had the Green Party had any chance at all in my riding, my vote would likely have gone to them in this election. I admire many of their principles, and their national leader, Elizabeth May, has raised many excellent points about the state of our democracy that we need to pay attention to.

  2. .. how far have we fallen.. not just in Ontario.. but across Canada .. ?
    Province to province.. a stunning lack of exemplars
    The recent events in Quebec, Christy Clark ? Alberta's farcical PC's
    Harper/Novak .. talking point lunatic 'Ministers' .. Arthur Porter, Tom Flanagan
    Shrill John Baird, opaque block of petrified salt Tony Clement
    Extirpation of the caribou is national energy policy, the wild salmon too
    Evangelism is the underlying secret club jingoism of federal politics .. What ?
    Spend millions on slick ads with actors pretending to be military vets
    when the same millions could have eased their pain?
    Frack the land.. lets stimulate China with our LNG.. green dilbit
    Hide the money from pensioners.. the new 'Economics' ? Oh !
    And Canada stands only for Israel.. not those dirty Palestinians
    while disturbed Ontarion political savages want to thrash unions
    teachers.. cutting jobs to let trickledown fairy tales hold sway

    Is this the new feudalism ? Voters as sharecroppers ?
    The dust bowl reality, and arid radioactive environment
    of runaway political parties.. jackalpacks of roving raving politicians
    that never really have held an actual job..
    but thrive on telling the rest of us.. on how its done ..
    and that their values are our values
    so get with it peons.. and eat cake

    1. You have rendered, as always, Salamander, an accurate portray of our blighted political landscape. The only thing any of us can do, in whatever way we can, is to work for healthier times in the future. While the situation is indeed dire, I still hold a modicum of hope that we can salvage our country and our values. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

  3. The Wynne government fell because of corruption, waste & broken promises. She ran attack ads instead of seeking support for her budget.

    I wouldn't put too much stock in what the Toronto Star says. They've run 23 anti-Andrea op-ed pieces so far. Their goal is to get Wynne an undeserved and unearned majority.

    Andrea has moved the party towards the center. But why not also represent centrist voters the Liberals abandoned over the past 20 years? Yet if one compares platforms she is still to the left of Wynne. And unlike Wynne, she is not campaigning left to govern right.

    Andrea stands for left-leaning populism, not right. She cares about people, not corporations. She will cancel failed corporate tax cuts. Raise minimum wage to $12/hr. Provide hydro-rate relief (high hydro rates hit low-income the hardest.) She offers dental care for low-income kids. Etc. Etc.

    This election people should vote on principle not out of fear.

    The fact is Hudak will win a majority if he gets 40% of the vote. But all 40% is on the right side. How a person on the left votes has no influence whatsoever. It's actually up to the Liberals to split the moderate right vote and keep Hudak out of majority territory.

    The reason the Liberals are "lurching left" is to win the majority they missed by one seat in 2011. There is nothing progressive about empty promises.

    1. I agree, Ron that much of this current campaign is based on perceptions; mine does not hold any more validity than anyone else's. In this campaign, it is incumbent upon each voter to come as close to the truth as possible.

      As I have written before, my greatest disaffection with the NDP here is that they did not continue to use their leverage for good effect, something I think they could have done with the progressive budget offered by Wynne. Opening the possibility to a Hudak government was, in my opinion, ill-advised. But, in any event, we will have to wait to see what unfolds on June 12.

  4. I think voting Green would be a great idea. With so many people wanting to vote "none of the above" and Green having candidates in every riding (I think), a significant vote for Green would really shake up the 3 main parties.

    1. It is, UU4077, a provocative suggestion that, if followed, would undoubtedly send tremors through the political 'establishment.'

  5. I'm not impressed either, with the choices this election. My local NDP candidate was a really good city councilor, so I'm going to vote for him despite the frustration I have with Andrea Horwath. I do wonder though, is there some populist crowd that do appreciate her campaigning on austerity measures and "accountability"?

    1. I think that while some might call 'that broadening her base,' Christy, others might describe Horwath's accountability talk as playing both sides of the fence.