By-election day today in Ontario and, let me tell you, this is one election I am content to be able to sit out. While I can’t speak to the three races outside of Toronto, what we’ve witnessed with the two campaigns in town – Scarborough-Guildwood and Etobicoke-Lakeshore – has been dismal. Dismal, dreary, discouraging. If the intent of the three major parties was to disengage the voting public beyond what any summer by-election would do naturally, well, bravo. Slow clap and let me just rinse to get the bitter taste from my mouth.
If it wasn’t apparent in the last provincial general election, this past five weeks or so has shown beyond a doubt that the Liberal government is suffering through ruling rot. Three terms in now and it’s all about desperately holding on to power by any means necessary. Hopes that a leadership change might’ve sparked some sort of internal renewal have pretty much been dashed by their performance at least here in the two Toronto riding by-elections.
Prime time for the opposition parties to step up and make their case.
But like in 2011, both the Tories and the NDP have run one note campaigns: The Liberals are bad. Time for a change. OK. I agree. What kind of change are you going to bring to Queen’s Park? The Liberals are bad. Time for a change. OK. We’ve established that. So what will you do differently if elected? The Liberals are bad. Time for a change. A change to what? The Liberals are bad. Time for a change.
Can you give me any sort of specific change you propose?
But the Liberals are for subways too.
The Liberals are bad. Time for a change.
Throughout the last 3 rancorous, chaotic years at City Hall, there’s been a quiet conversation happening about perhaps the need for the discipline of party politics at the municipal level. Too many wildcards, acting in their own parochial best interests, making decisions in a willy-nilly fashion. Time to bring in the whip. Time to restore order.
Nothing about party politics at the provincial level currently would make me think this is a good idea. These by-election campaigns have revealed the system to be one of rigid thinking and unquestioning loyalty to a banner not the people. It warps otherwise seemingly well-intentioned candidates into talking point spewing automatons. How else to explain the former chair of the TTC and champion of the LRT-driven Transit City now referring to the technology as 2nd-class? His Liberal opponent, past CEO of the CivicAction Alliance, a group well-regarded as sensible contributors to the region’s transit debate, has thrown all that from the bus to embrace a sudden Scarborough subway zeal. The city’s Deputy Mayor who has spent some 30 years in municipal politics not building subways wants voters in his riding now to think he’ll deliver one to them as their MPP.
If as a voter in today’s two Toronto by-elections you can bring yourself to cast a ballot for any of the three major parties, you’re just pledging blind, partisan allegiance to empty party politics. You are part of the problem not the solution.
From my perspective, I’d like to see Doug Holyday win in Etobicoke-Lakeshore for no other reason than to have him take his cranky old man act the fuck out of City Hall and up to Queen’s Park. A side benefit might be that Peter Milczyn and the other nominal Liberals on council will realize that Mayor Ford is not their friend and that their relationship with him goes entirely in one-direction. Maybe they’ll stop rolling over, hoping for a friendly rub of their bellies.
In Scarborough-Guildwood, it strikes me as the perfect time to go Green. The party’s candidate, Nick Leeson, has sounded the most reasonable, positive and not beholden the interests of Big Subway. I voted Green for the first time last provincial election and the world did not end. My candidate lost but, at the very least, I let it be known to the Liberals, PCs and NDP that none should take my vote for granted and that what they were delivering up as reasons to vote for them were no longer palatable options.
Today’s vote shouldn’t be seen as just a referendum on the sitting government. It needs to be an indictment of the entire system at Queen’s Park and the putrefying, self-serving culture it’s become.
– protestly submitted by Cityslikr