Has anyone noticed? There’s a provincial election campaign sleepwalking its way across Ontario now.
In two weeks, Ontarians will have a chance to pass judgment on the past four years of governance by Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservatives.
That judgment largely will be a referendum on how Ford handled (or mishandled) the pandemic response in this province.
Was he an overmatched, out-of-his-depth neophyte who repeatedly chose political expediency over science and caused unnecessary death and suffering, or was he a decisive, workman-like leader who made the tough calls to the best of his ability in crisis situations no other premier has ever had to face?
Ultimately, the voters will decide.
Despite the tendency for many voters to forever define themselves as Liberals, Conservatives or New Democrats and vote accordingly – sort of “my party right or wrong” a la American-style politics – in this particular riding, at least in the most recent elections, that isn’t always the case.
It’s a refreshing change from the political norm.
In the last two elections, Niagara Falls riding, which also includes Niagara-on-the-Lake and Lake Erie, has elected a Conservative federally and a pothole-fixin’, Everyman trade unionist New Democrat provincially. (OK, he’s more than a pothole fixer, that’s a municipal responsibility, but that is the cultivated persona.)
So, the same voting populace has opted for two very divergent electoral options, people from opposite ends of the political spectrum, choosing the person they feel will best represent them in Ottawa or Queen’s Park. Interesting.
We’re not sure why that has happened, but it seems better than knee-jerk partisan support “because that's how we vote.” In Canada’s parliamentary-based electoral system, technically, a vote for any candidate is not a vote for their party. Yes, you’re supporting PC, Liberal or NDP etc., but your vote doesn’t help the party leader – unless your candidate wins and thus helps their party take the reins of power.
Which is why we have always believed that to make your X really count at the local level people should vote for the person who will best represent their community, their interests, their issues.
And that appears to be what the voters of Niagara Falls riding have done in elections going back many years, when the provincial member often represented a different party than their federal counterpart. Similar voter pool, different outcomes.
So, what’s it all mean? We’d suggest it indicates the voters of Niagara Falls riding pay close attention to what their local candidates say and how they perform.
We think that is the right approach and encourage everyone to take the time to educate yourself and make an informed decision about who should represent you for the next four years or more.
You’ve got a couple of weeks. It’s your democracy, your choice. Use that democratic choice wisely.