Opening Statement



Friday, 7 October 2011

Liberal Win! Some Election Notes


As of this morning the official counts in the Ontario Provincial Election are:


Liberals =53 seats with 37% of the popular vote!
Conservatives=37 seats with 35% of the popular vote!
NDP=17 seats with 23% of the popular vote!


The McGuinty Liberals are one vote shy of a majority! There will be recounts and these numbers could change a little this way or that, but in the end it won't matter much. The result is a minority government and this is not necessarily a bad thing. It is very typical in many parliamentary democracies. If all three main partys work together for the common good of Ontarians it can be very responsive, with an internal dynamic that can result in balanced decisions. It's no longer a case of any one party or group of interests mostly getting their way and making arbitrary decisions whether the rest of us like it or not. There is much more need for consensus building.


Majority governments are more stable and indecisive, that's true. But Ontario is election weary and the coffers of all three parties must be pretty bare. We are stuck with a minority government, like it or not, for some time I'd bet. Maybe a full term of four years? We'll see. If the parties are here to serve the people of Ontario like they say, they will need to work together. If it's about posturing, power grabs, internal party politics and dirty tricks we could end up with another federal minority government debacle like we've seen in Ottawa; just a lot of bickering, as opposed to a reasoned debate with give and take.


Perhaps an all or nothing government majority is not always best. A month ago we were looking at a Conservative landslide. The gloves would've been off pretty fast as Hudak came after the unions. Our collective rights are guaranteed by law. Still we might've had to fight him all the way up to the supreme court before we could overturn his plans for us. What did he/ does he have in mind? Remember, according to former Conservative Education Minister John Snobelen the only mistake the Harris Conservatives made was not going after the teacher's fast and hard enough. It's a message most likely not lost on Tim Hudak, who you recall sat on Harris' cabinet with Snobelen during the so called "Common Sense Revolution" So we have got a reprieve for now anyway, from four or more years of pure grief.


Now what if Mr. Hudak can quit the personal attacks on Mr. McGuinty and maybe even talk with us? It might be hoping for too much but we will see. He gained seats for the party, he will be around for awhile, but he was heading for a majority and decidedly lost. We will need to watch him carefully.


Andrea Horwath perhaps did best. She could now well yield a balance of power in shifting the Liberals to centre left on more issues. She can gain experience, work on her profile, and fine tune her party and skills in the new minority government at Queens Park. On social issues one wouldn't be too surprised if she and the Liberals can find a lot of common ground. Economically speaking though, can she and the NDP come up with more than the old socialist bromides and people's party promises to appeal to the middle mainstream vote, and provide a viable Liberal alternative which could actually govern? Will labour give her enough room or will they go for her throat at some point like here in Toronto with Mayor Miller during the garbage strike? Hello Rob Ford! I suspect Andrea will be the most interesting party leader to watch.


And what of Mr.Guinty? True he has pulled off a hat trick with three Liberal wins in a row. Still, he lost seats and faces the need for party renewal without a plethora of new talent to draw upon. Perhaps it would've been better if he had put off any decisions on the HST until after the election and/ or stepped down two years into the last term. Taken a hit for the party. How would the Liberal's have done with a fresh leadership face and some plausible deniability for whatever ails us in the province of Ontario? And what happens to his mid term retirement plans now? If you ask me, wife Terry McGuinty didn't look terribly pleased on stage with him during his victory speech last night.


Questions! Questions! Questions! The final numbers don't even add up quite yet. Well, this post is obviously a work in progress, as is our new Ontario provincial government. I will have to get back to you later dear readers. In the meantime I hear school bells ringing...........................

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