Ready for some political theatre?!
Here is how I will cover the Ontario Spring Election on my blogsite: As you may or might not know I am a teacher union retiree with a strong social justice focus, but I feel no particular allegiance to any political party or group. I'm retired unlike in years past when I worked on the provincial election beat with my union's Political Advisory Committee. I bring along any knowledge + personal experience I might've acquired. However this blog always just represents my own independent grassroots point of view. I am not going to toe any party line, union, political or otherwise, nor do I speak on anyone else's behalf. This is + remains a teacher free speech blogsite.
I do not claim to be an absolute expert on Ontario politics, far from it. IMHO anyone who does is either self delusional or trying to pull the wool over your eyes. You are welcome to disagree with my point of view. You can Comment below each blog in our regular ongoing open forum discussions. Just show respect for all our writers.
Ontario Election Time: Make show!
Here's how I view the Ontario election:
I don't particularly care for any of Ontario's 3 main political parties. I'm not interested in wasting my good word or vote on anybody who has little chance of winning. Nor in helping facilitate a default election victory for the Provincial Conservatives by not being practical and realistic. Many teacher unionists + political progressives failed to do so in 1995 helping hand PC Mike Harris his first majority government.
Having fought + survived the Harris Conservatives from 1995-2003 I know it will be very unfortunate if PC Leader Tim Hudak is elected to pick up where Mike Harris left off. Without doubt our hard earned gains as education advocates will be erased for future generations of teachers, unions, working families and other progressives in our province. However, this is now first and foremost fast becoming the next generations fight.
Unfortunately, few have arisen to the challenge of fighting the good fight for quite some time now. Many if not most of the post Harris era teachers are basically apathetic and politically disengaged. Our teacher union leaders are often old guard fighters from the Harris years who have stuck around too long to be really fighting the good fight for the common good anymore. We have watched them allow our contracts to be stripped through appeasement and concession bargaining with the OLP government since the 2011 election. They no longer take a strong and unequivocal stand in their member interests. When the official "union position" thereby offends the sensibilities I will not go easy regardless of the affiliate.
We are watching Ontario's political parties practice brokerage politics. Each party has have put together a package of common interests and like minded thinkers to gain power through an election win. The party leaders are figure heads representing these interests. They have limited autonomy, as do the individual candidates and MPP's. Everybody will toe the particular party line like lemmings or minions, take your pick.
Reality: what a concept!
This shadow show we are about to see is basically a theatre of the mind. The reality of whatever unfolds between now and election day on June 12th is a perception that will be created in our minds through their relative ability to manipulate the main stream mass media. The majority of Ontarians will not vote. Victory will belong to whomever can get out most of their vote come election day.
All three parties fall within the centre of the Ontario political spectrum to varying degrees. The centralist Ontario Liberals [OLP] have been veering from centre right to centre left and could well be about to topple. Or maybe not. The New Democratic Party [NDP] has largely abandoned their traditional leftie support to shift just slightly left of the political centre in a gamble to try win the all necessary middle ground.
Should the OLP + NDP split the middle vote, the Provincial Conservatives [PC's] could win through default. Though they persistently remain to the far right of centre within the Ontario political spectrum, their hardcore support is the most consistent. In the worse case scenario, which is not entirely impossible, their voters will not show up to vote on election day. Indeed they often haven't come out in strength during the last 3 elections. However, the sniff of victory might be too strong now. Most might just hold their nose and vote for the Tim Hudak brand of Ontario neo conservatism, verses the more centralist + successful red Tory brand of conservatism last seen during the Bill Davis years.
In Ontario it is important to seem to be nice so as to not offend the common sensibility that we are spendthrift middle of the road people who do not seek to offend or be mean to anyone. Truth be told, God only knows what that really means. Premier Mike Harris won two back to back majorities with an Ontario blend of neo conservatism that emphasized a US style "Common Sense" brand of divide and conquer politics wherein only the strong survive + flourish. Many less fortunate Ontarians were excluded from this delusional vision of whatever being from Ontario really means. After all was said and done the Harris-Eves Tories did not even balance the budget. They left a huge deficit in their wake. However, then as now the PC's budget balancing act is their self professed motto and commonly perceived truth.
Will the formula work again for Hudak's Harris Redux Tories on June 12 2014? The PC's could win over a majority of the soft vote if there's a reactionary backlash against the perceived leftist budget threat they have managed to foster in the public mind. Will the average Ontario voter be convinced it's time to "throw the bums out" be they Liberal or NDP, as unpalatable as the actual PC positions might otherwise be? Collective denial of our Ontario leaders' true character and intent is not uncommon when the political perceptions are aligned just right, witness our Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. The truth need not be true. They just need to put on a good enough show to pull the wool over every bodies eyes about what they really intend to do if re-elected again.
Horwath + Wynne: Will they split the centre left vote facilitating a Conservative victory?
What would I like to see result in this election?
Well, a PC majority government means its game over for our progressive vision of Ontario for quite some time to be. Short of that though, I am not particularly enamoured with either the OLP or NDP party. The best outcome as I see it would be for an NDP +OLP coalition government. That way they could hold each other in check. An OLP majority win would not allow Wynne to possibly purge the party of its deadbeat rightest influences. An NDP win might well not result in a union friendly government, as we saw during the early 1990's when the NDP government failed to keep its left wing promises and turned upon us too. Neither in practice have been strong advocates for the labour movement in Ontario since the 2011 election. It's time for a check mate to hold the PC's at bay while we sort out and emphasize our important issues + support for either party before the next election.
So that dear readers is my point of view. I will cover the campaign in a number of blogs. I haven't quite sorted out just how I will organize that yet, but I will in the short days ahead. You are of course welcome to agree and disagree with me, or challenge any of the assumptions that will arise over the course of the spring election in our open forum discussions. You can find them below each blog.
Let the political punditry begin!