I'm not sure I've ever seen a concession speech in advance of election night. But if anyone's going to give one, it's going to Kathleen Wynne...the most hated premier in this province, arguably ANY province's, history. If current polls are to be believed, come Friday morning the Liberals may well lack the required eight seats to be considered an official party.
All the fight has gone out of them. I haven't seen a single Liberal sign in my riding that wasn't on public land. I haven't met the Liberal (or the PC) candidate for my riding; my incumbent MPP Catherine Fife has been by twice.
Wynne is desperately urging people to vote for their Liberal candidates to head off losing official party status...but she's so hated that I think every time she urges this, more and more people decide to vote for someone else.
So the race is between Doug Ford's Progressive Conservatives and Andrea Horwath's New Democrats. And in the manner of all political races of the new millennium, this one is CLOSE and it is BITTER.
There is no doubt in my mind that had the Conservatives elected Christine Elliott--or just about anything else radiating around 37 degrees C...they'd have cakewalked their way into Queen's Park with a massive majority. Instead they decided to bank on populism, in the form of Doug Ford. Ford, the brother of the late and spectacularly unlamented Rob--has proceeded to fritter what was a 24 point lead entirely away. He did this in true Ford fashion, being involved in multiple scandals the depth of which we will never learn if he wins.
And despite blowing that massive lead, he almost certainly will win. Possibly quite handily. When you look at the polls, it's a tie. But popular vote counts for nothing--what matters is seat count. The NDP are making gains--they sit at 54 projected seats last I looked--but the PCs are projected to get 63. Which, believe it or not, would give them a majority. Barely.
I disagree with this state of affairs, and I'd do so just as vehemently if a party I liked stood to get a majority government with a minority of the votes cast. But that's been happening for several electoral terms now.
To clarify: I don't inherently dislike the Progressive Conservatives. I loathe their extremists, but historically the party used to be able to keep a lid on them, for the most part. I could well have voted PC this time around if anyone but Doug Ford was their leader.
I dislike Doug Ford for a number of reasons. First, there's his lacklustre single term as a Toronto city councillor, during which he showed up for less than half the council meetings, was repeatedly accused of vote-buying, and continually showed bullying tactics, including threatening violence. His personality was on full display, saying a home for autistic children had "ruined the community" and telling the father of one of those children to "go to hell". He also lied and covered up for his feckless brother over a period of years.
Then, there's his "platform". I'm not going to give it the dignity of linking it -- Google it if you must, but if you do, note the sloganeering in place of critical details such as, oh, where the hell he's going to find money to fund his spending while cutting taxes left and right.
You can't do that. It doesn't work. Not without running a deficit higher than either of the other parties.
This is not a costed platform. This is a platform with a bunch of numbers in it. Any fiscal conservative--with whom the PCs make a heroic effort to align--should be up in arms over this.
Finally, there's general sleaziness that seems to infect the entire Ford family, recently manifesting in allegations of data theft and subsequent improprieties. There's the riding Ford may have bought for Kinga Surma. There is Ford Ford paying people to pretend to support him...paying them less than minimum wage, in fact. Question any of this to a Ford supporter and you're sure to unleash an anti-Wynne, anti-Horwath tirade.
Whataboutism has come to Canada full force. You remember whataboutism? Most famously characterized by "but her emails!"?
Wynne has taken herself out of the race, so by all means let's talk about
See, that's the thing. The NDP is poison to a subset of Ontarian voters because of Bob Rae, who was Premier from '90 to '95. Rae had the singular misfortune of winning a majority government just as a deep, deep global recession was getting underway. Maybe you can take it from the man himself: he has been unfairly wronged. Yes, he screwed up trying to tax and spend his way out of a recession, but then he did something I frankly find admirable: he reversed his course.
Politicians don't do that. Hell, HUMANS don't do that. We are every bit as vulnerable as our simian cousins to the monkey trap. Rae did, though, and in so doing, alienated his base. That's a mortal sin in politics. Worse than that, he tarnished the NDP seemingly forever in the eyes of some voters--who have already forgotten the Fordian scandals I listed above, but who are EXCEEDINGLY quick to shout out "Rae Days!" whenever the spectre of Andrea Horwath's NDP is raised.
Andrea Horwath is not Bob Rae, something the merest glance at her should ascertain. Her platform , independently costed by a former provincial budget officer, has been deemed (link above) to be the most fiscally responsible of the parties'. While it's certainly not as disciplined as some would like it to be, it's a damn sight better, in my opinion, than a list of sky-pies without any least indication of how they'll be baked. I'm setting aside my own well-known political preferences here to suggest that if you're wedded to Doug Ford as your next Premier...let's just say you're overlooking a LOT.
If it's fair to whatabout Rae, I'm going to whatabout Mike Harris, Rae's successor.
Harris knee-jerked the province further right than it had been left of center. He was my first encounter with the kind of politics that is all so prevalent today: "if you don't agree with me, you are evil and stupid". He demonized nurses, teachers, the unemployed, and ESPECIALLY people on welfare.
I will give Harris credit for one thing, though, and I will do so unreservedly. He said what he was going to do, and then he did it. That quality alone, rarer than albino unicorn tears in politics, is probably why he got a second majority.
Doug Ford is like Mike Harris in that he is, at heart, a bully. He is UNLIKE Mike Harris in that he has no coherent plan for government. I just can't in good conscience vote for a person like that.
"But Horwath has pledged to make Ontario a sanctuary province!"
Yes, she has, and that's something that DOUG FORD HIMSELF voted for (see line 6) as a city councillor.
Here are a number of reasons why making Ontario a sanctuary province is an excellent idea. I suspect that for more than a few, all of these reasons will be, ahem, Trumped by the skin colours of those seeking sanctuary. Which is something Ford is exploiting. Conservative politics of the Fordian hue is always, ALWAYS, the politics of fear.
Me, I prefer the politics of, to quote the last person I voted FOR..."love, hope and optimism". And that's why I'm voting NDP, and urge you to do the same.