Caution: election in progress
And so it begins, Ontario’s version of the clown show down that resulted in the election of Donald Trump as president of the Disjointed States of America.
On the face of it, the provincial general election features almost the exact same scenario as faced American voters: a completely unqualified, buffoonish, overweight businessman going up against a scandal-plagued woman, who has lots of government experience but now is considered by many to be un-electable. And the third party is practically invisible.
There are other similarities. Doug Ford emerged as the new leader of the Progressive Conservative party after a series of mud-slinging debates with other candidates for the job. Admittedly, his opponents were not as downright imbecilic as those faced by Trump, but, just like Trump, his bluster carried the day.
Supposedly, this bluster makes him a man of the people, giving him a populist appeal. “I think he is charismatic, he is caring, he just has this energy about him that attracts different walks of life to him,” the CBC quotes a member of Windsor University’s Conservative club. “No matter what you think about him he is going to draw some form of reaction.”
He’s going to draw some for of reaction? You can say that about Trump every day: it doesn’t make him the right person for the job.
And just as the Republican Party found itself in disarray when faced with the prospect of Trump carrying its banner in an election, so did the Ontario PCs flounder in their inept handling of the leadership campaign. The vote apparently was so close between Ford and Christine Elliott that the result came out after extensive backroom meetings. Any outcome resulting from closed-door, backroom meetings is suspicious. Despite all the talk about Ford’s populist appeal and his common man approach, backroom deals tell me it’s just politics as usual.
And there is another similarity, this one a little more disturbing. Already I have found on my Facebook page an ad from something called Ontario Proud, which solicits donations to pay for the airing of an anti-Kathleen Wynne commercial. This group was started by a former Conservative staffer who also worked at Sun News Network. That should tell you a lot, but Ontario Proud will tell you even more. They will tell you what candidate in your riding has the best chance of defeating whoever is running for the Liberals and urge you to vote for that person. They are not interested in electing a government: they are only interesting in unseating a government.
I make no bones about who I’m voting for or who I am not voting for – (you might recall my recent column which said I’m going to sit out this election) – but to the best of my recollection I have never attempted to tell anyone else how they should vote. You see, I have this weird notion that it is up to each individual voter to gain as much information as he or she deems necessary in order to cast an informed ballot or at least vote for someone who’s for something rather than against something. That information can be readily accessed from a number of different sources: campaign literature, all-candidates meetings, a wide variety of main stream media in order to filter out the biases and even by actually talking to the candidates themselves. It might take a little work, but if you think your vote is important, then it’s worth a bit of effort. If your vote can be influenced by a post on Facebook, then it can just as easily be influenced by a drunk at a bar and isn’t worth spit.
You shouldn’t let anyone influence your vote unless it’s the candidates or political parties themselves. Don’t listen to the teachers’ union or the nurses’ union or the chamber of commerce or any number of other self-interest groups. They only want an outcome that will benefit them. Some, of course, we look on with sympathy: who doesn’t think nurses deserve better wages and working conditions? But at the end of the day, they all have an agenda. Read and watch main stream media, but be sure you know the difference between news reporting and opinion. Opinion writers can, in some instances, help you understand what’s going on, but in the end they are just opinion pieces.
It seems to me it’s hard enough trying to decide who is the candidate most worthy of your vote without having complete strangers popping up on your Facebook page trying to make that decision for you.
Tell me, am I wrong?