Posted: June 17, 2014 in Current Events, Election, politics

The Ontario election results are undeniably decisive. (There is an issue about seats vs popular vote representation but that’s a discussion for another day.) I think that the Liberal majority win can be attributed to two separate things.

The first is a clear statement from over 60% of Ontarians that they reject the extreme right, Tea Party like stance that the PCs tried to use in this election. Even within the PC party there were several comments questioning the form if not the substance of the message. It was as if the PCs were trying to say that real medicine might have to taste bad, but ended up communicating that something which tastes bad must be good medicine. The way that the 100 000 job cuts were announced at the beginning of the campaign was almost mean spirited in tone. The whole campaign just didn’t make sense, and it is no surprise that Hudak chose to fall on his sword in his concession speech. The problem is that, according to one candid statement by a PC insider, the cupboard is bare when it comes to potential leaders. It will be interesting to see what might come out of the woodwork. Clearly, the PC party needs to find a new leader and a new policy position that is a more moderate form of conservatism. Had the party not played such an extreme card in this election, and kept the “Progressive” in PC, they might very well have won it.

Andrea Horwath would be well advised to consider the same fate for the good of her party. Although she did not gain or lose seats, from the confusing triggering of the election in the first place, to the strange position she assumed, arguably to the right of the Liberals, the result has been an identity crisis within her party. Hitting the reset button seems advisable.

The second reason for the Liberal win is more interesting. Throughout this campaign I have heard on numerous occasions that Kathleen Wynne has the potential to be a great Premiere in the tradition of a Bill Davis. It seems that voters were willing to accept that if Ontario needed a change, she was the change that would work even if she was part of the same party. Since the beginning of the election I have had the same feeling and I think that Wynne is trying to change the direction of the Ontario Liberals and clean up some of their messes. She seems able to inspire confidence in her leadership, popular even with voters who would not vote Liberal.

But now she has the daunting job of fulfilling that potential and keeping her campaign promises. Being less vulnerable in a majority situation, she needs to be more transparent about some of the Liberal mistakes of the past and specific about the changes she will implement. She needs to openly communicate with the public where the province stands with regards to its overall debt and how it got there during the past six years, then explain what will be necessary in order to reverse its direction. During the election, issues were, perhaps necessarily, over simplified and reduced to talking points. Now, with the new security and stability of a majority government, the issues can be explored more realistically and transparently. There needs to be a clear, observable effort to be honest, transparent and responsible.

Like anyone’s wish list of things that they’d like to do in the next year, Wynne and the Liberals will likely be unable to or simply not get to some of the things that she’s promised. That’s just a political reality. I honestly wish they had put aside the budget tailored for NDP support and started fresh during the campaign. They could have retained the parts they really wanted. Now they are unnecessarily saddled with that budget, even though parts of it may have been compromises to try to secure the minority government.

But Wynne has an opportunity to push politics in Ontario into a more open, honest and transparent place. The voters of Ontario have shown that they deserve this. Having rejected knee-jerk politics against the odds, they have shown that they are willing to listen to reason. And there definitely is a basket of dirty laundry that needs attention. Premiere Wynne, don’t disappoint us.

  1. Eric Saunders says:

    Not one of the parties addressed any of the big issues that are going to get humans aborted from this planet. Global warming. Nuclear waste. Expansion and growth forever of the economy. Topsoil loss.

  2. Natalina A. Servizo says:

    Most Republicans are Realists deal with Reality…Most Democrats are are Delusional deal with Delusions

    • pwiinholt says:

      What an incredibly shallow comment on a 2 year old post that has little to do with Republicans and Democrats. I don’t usually respond to comments with labeling or name calling, but since you’ve set the tone here, let me say that I find your statement arrogant and egocentric, typical of many right wingers. The current political climate in the U.S. for the right can be divided into two issues. First there are those right wingers, egocentric and racist, who are in their glory that they finally have a candidate that reflects their personal world view. Or the other side, there are those on the right who are going through mental gymnastics of rationalization as they see their party being exposed for what it really is.

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