What will happen in today’s provincial elections is totally unpredictable. Ontario Premier Wynne says she will not win. Doug Ford, the previously identified frontrunner according to the earlier opinion polls, may yet lose. And Andrea Horwath, to all appearances, has now arm-wrestled Ford into a statistical draw.
Whatever your personal, political or policy preference may be, make it a point of honour and duty to go out and vote.
Yes, it’s a messy situation. Yes, there is a whole heap of uncertainty. But, remember that abstaining will only make things worse. Sitting on the fence will make you an accomplice in advancing the interest of those who are counting on you to let them run the show. If you do not vote, they will have carte blanche to run the show for their own benefit, not yours.
In many ways, the current electoral uncertainty is nerve-racking.
The days of automatic party loyalty have all but disappeared. In the words of a female voter in Markham:
“People are no longer blindly faithful to a political label. Before, people used to vote for the same side at all stages of their lives. That era is now gone”
Moreover, the percentage of undecided voters is so high that it has been guesstimated to be in the 25-35 range.
Add to that the fact that, for the first time ever, the youth – defined as persons 18-40 years old- now constitute the largest segment of Ontario’s electorate.
Now that the Liberals are running so low in the hustings, will those young people move to the NDP or the Conservatives? Which of these two parties is specifically targeting this social media generation of voters?
Is strategic voting likely to come into play? If it does, which of the four parties is likely to benefit most? The Greens seem guaranteed at least a small share of the protest vote.
What do you think of the absolutely “novel” “strategy” adopted by incumbent Premier Kathleen Wynne last Saturday? On that fateful day, she publicly declared that she and her party would not win the election and pleaded with Ontarians to elect as many Liberals as possible so that neither the NDP nor the Conservatives could form a majority government.
In spite of her positive policies (both implemented and announced) in minimum wage increases, education, health care, affordable housing and anti-racism, among many areas, she has still been ranked in the opinion polls as the most disliked of the current provincial party leaders.
The disastrous consequences of that nagging rejection have convinced her that she must fight to save the Liberal Party and its candidates by sacrificing herself. Whatever her intention in publicly recognizing her un-electability, it is doubtful that her strategy will work.
If that strategy falls flat or backfires, the Liberals may face political oblivion: less than 8 seats of the total of 124.
But if the strategy succeeds (20 seats or more?), the Liberals can become the king/queen-makers. In the event that neither the NDP nor the Conservatives win a full majority (if they get less than 63 seats), the Liberals may be the ones to determine which party forms the new government, how long that government will last and what policies can be approved in the new dispensation at Queen’ Park.
In that context, you will be weighing the reliability of the pre-elections declarations from the NDP and the Liberals, both of whom appear to deny the possibility of a coalition or of a conditional arrangement to support a minority government.
A few more questions, dear voters.
How do you react to the lawsuit and the damning accusations launched against Doug Ford by his sister-in-law, Renata Ford, the widow of the former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford?
Can you believe that Doug Ford is capable of cheating Renata Ford and her children out of their fair share of the wealth of the extended Ford family? Has the value of the family company been going downhill because Doug Ford lacks the required business skills?
Does this development cause you to entertain serious doubts about the honesty and managerial competence of the man who aspires to lead his Progressive Conservative party into government and to administer the affairs of your province?
Or do you think that it is just a ploy to sabotage the political ambitions of her brother-in-law, Doug Ford, just days before the elections?
In the final analysis, having considered all of the issues, there is one basic question that you need to ask yourselves. Consider each and every one of the leaders, candidates and parties wooing you to vote for them.
Whom do you trust the most?
Whatever you do, go out and vote.