Sunday, September 25, 2011

On the Ontario Election

This isn’t what I intended to talk about today.  It was intended to be a small part of a different discussion but it has been gnawing at me and getting bigger by the day.

We are suffering through a provincial election here in Ontario and it is annoying me more and more.  Politics in Ontario is reaching the same levels of nonsense that the Federal election employed.  Or should I say depths?

I will admit that when I look back, my vision is clouded by time and things may not appear the same as they did then, but what has happened to our political system in Canada?

I’m sure there was pettiness and lies all along, but there were people of vision.  The Twentieth Century belongs to Canada!  A Canadian Made Bill of Rights!  A Just Society!  I’ll even toss in the original Free Trade Agreement.  You may not agree with the individuals belonging to these ideas, but at least they were offering a path to the future.

Even the lesser aims of these leaders throughout our history offered us a choice of direction.  Stanfield, Trudeau, Clark, Pearson, Diefenbaker... they all argued policies, they stood FOR something.  Now that is gone.  Now we get smears and attacks.  Now we get sound bites and talking points.

What I’m looking for is “Vote for ME because...!” and I’m not seeing it.

Ontario is still reeling from the economic turmoil of the last few years and more is quite possibly on the horizon.  The candidates have an issue that needs to be addressed, how will you steer this boat through the uncharted waters ahead of us?

What do we get?  Dalton is the tax man.  Andrea voted the same way as Tim 183 times.  Get the picture? 

Locally it is just as bad if not worse.  I will has been replaced with WE will and THEY are.  The backbencher has been relegated to the marionette theatre.  When the leader stands, you stand.  Here’s your script, don’t mess it up. 

It used to be a joke that a constituency was so secure you could run a rock and win, now it’s becoming the truth.  They don’t have to attend All Candidates Meetings.  They don’t even have to knock on doors.  I can count on one hand the number of times in the last 20 years that I have personally met a campaigning candidate and that includes Local, Provincial and Federal races.

I seriously doubt any candidates give a rat’s patoot about whether I vote or note.  They certainly aren’t showing it.  But then again if they DO show up they might have to answer a question or two and I may not follow their script.

Now, just for fun.... You come home and your spouse sits you and the kids down.  Your spouse tells you that you can have ice cream for dessert every day (everyone loves ice cream) but you have to give up the sports channel and the kids have to give up their Kid channel because the cable is going to basic service.  You consider this and say “No, I’d like to keep my channel” and the kids consider and decide the same thing.  The next day your neighbours all think you’re an idiot because you hate ice cream and evil because you made your kids hate ice cream as well.

Now...  To get your neighbours off your back, you decide to take the bus to work.  The government is going to subsidize the buses, so it will be cheap.  You can keep the cable and get ice cream at the same time.  Well that’s no good because you don’t live in a metropolitan area and the buses stop before you get off work meaning a long walk home.

So... You march into the boss’ office and demand a pay cut.  Less pay means less tax and the taxes are killing you.  It didn’t help the last time, think it will help this time?

Finally we’re back to the ice cream or the cable.  At least I am.

It’s probably too late for this time around, but we the voters need to put the candidates feet to the fire.  If our local members in the legislature are unwilling to stand up for their constituencies first, we need different people regardless what colour their sign is.  This will probably annoy more than a few people but think about it.  If you support the Purple Party (Red/Blue/Orange combined, sort of) and they (the leadership) decide to go for a Bill that is bad for you and your community, what good is a Purple Rep that votes for it because the leader says to?  They are supposed to be our voices in the legislature.  If it’s a good Bill vote Yes, if it’s bad vote No- irrespective of who enacted the Bill in the first place.

The leaders of the respective parties need to provide a vision.  Where are we going?  How will we get there?  Stop saying “Me Good They Bad” and tell me what the plan is.  Tell me in your advertisements why it’s a good plan.

I want to see the leaders and the candidates explaining why I should choose them over the others.  If you have an issue with what was done, what would you have done instead?  What will you do in the future to improve my life and the lives of all Ontarians?

The bottom line is that it is up to us.  We, the voters need to tell our candidates and their leaders that we want to hear the truth and the whole truth.  Then individually we make our decision on who should receive our votes.

For anyone who wants to point out there are Red Books and Change Books and Orange Books, that’s wonderful and I am aware.  But that does not mean that everyone will bother to look at them.  Or anyone for that matter. 

Tell me what the plan is.  Tell me why the plan is good.  Let me judge it so I can vote intelligently.

Finally, when you’ve finished reading this, take the time to find out where the parties stand.  Go to their websites and look at their stances.  Grab the candidates and ask questions. Think about what they offer and decide.

Then show up and be a voter.

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