Airing of grievances - Shawn Loughlin editorial
While many newspapers will endorse a candidate ahead of an election, The Citizen isn’t one of those newspapers. Sure, we voice our opinions on pages four and five every week about those in power and those who aren’t, but just before an election, we like to let the candidates speak for themselves, rather than opining as to who we think you should vote for.
Once the votes have all been tallied, however, I guess it’s back to open season. And, depending on how the vote goes, it’s hard not to feel like Seinfeld’s Frank Costanza on Festivus eve during the airing of grievances. “I’ve got a lot of problems with you people; and now you’re gonna hear about it.”
First off we have a record-low voter turnout. That’s sad any way you slice it. The morning after the election, voter turnout was in the low 40s. Sources estimated that, when every last vote was counted, voter turnout was likely to sit around 45 per cent, an all-time low.
Full disclosure: I am among the missing 55 per cent. With sickness running through our house and the unreliability of home COVID-19 test kits, we did our very best to stick to ourselves for as long as possible. That meant not exercising our right to vote. The old adage states that those who don’t vote don’t earn the right to complain. Guess what? It’s my column and I’ll complain as I please.
Regardless, the province (or about 45 per cent of it, anyway) had its say and the people wanted “Ford” more years. We can debate Premier Doug Ford’s performance over the past four years until we’re blue in the face (or until another 13,000 Ontarians die from COVID-19), or save it for another day.
If you’re a left-leaning voter, seeing the results, overwhelming as they were under the existing system, must have been frustrating. That leads to my second point. Sure, Ford and his buddies crushed the second-closest party, the NDP, chalking up over 1.9 million votes compared to the NDP’s 1.1 million. But, if you were to unite the left, as was suggested by a Toronto Star columnist just a few days before the election, it would be a clear victory for those voters. Liberal, NDP and Green votes easily tally over 2.5 million votes, showing that, at least based on the way Ontario voted last week, more people voted against the winning party than voted for it.
Regardless of your party affiliation, it’s hard to argue for a system that rewards someone who didn’t garner support from a majority of those who voted.
Third, it seems as though the freedom revolution failed to take hold. New Blue and Ontario Party candidates took home votes from just over 200,000 Ontarians. So, despite Denny telling me about a disproportionate number of local students at a mock election telling him to vote for the New Blue Party, it looks like it’s back to the drawing board. You’ll always have Ottawa.
Heading into last week, Publisher Deb Sholdice called the election “dangerously boring”, the kind of “boring” election that leads to some disastrous results while others couldn’t be compelled to pay attention.
Will our “Ford” more years simply be more of the same, or does something else await us? With both Steven Del Duca and Andrea Horwath stepping down from leading their respective parties, can new blood reinvigorate the left? Is just over four per cent of the vote for New Blue and Ontario Party candidates an embarrassing indictment of those parties’ policies, or a seed that could grow into something much bigger? Time will tell.