We all have to live by a set of rules. Depending on where we live or who we are, the rules may not be perfect, but then you challenge the rules. You don’t cry about the unfairness of it all after the fact.
Debate raged in the early days of Doug Ford’s Premiership – back when he was first considering using the notwithstanding clause. While some felt he was trampling the rights of Ontarians, others made the case that Ford had won a majority government in June and could, effectively, do whatever he wanted.
While (lower case) conservatives and liberals argued with one another, there was another point to be made entirely: the folks who said that Ford, in fact, did not win a majority in the 42nd provincial election.
With 40.5 per cent support, these critics said, a minority of Ontario voters voiced their support for Ford and the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. The majority of Ontarians voted for someone else.
From a strictly mathematical standpoint, this statement is a fact. To have a controlling stake requires 51 per cent.
However, as Ontarians, this is our democratic system. It is how we know and understand our elections to work and we knew that when each and every one of us stood behind the little cardboard shield with our ballot in one hand and a pencil in the other.
Like I said at the beginning of this column, the system may not be perfect, but either challenge it or live with it.
If you think the speed limit on a street is too low, the time to make your case to your local council is at one of its regularly-scheduled meetings, not while hanging out the driver’s side window after a police officer asks for your licence and registration.
This has been a familiar refrain south of the border as well. Donald Trump won the electoral college in 2016 and, as a result, was elected President of the United States.
Opponents of Trump have been quick to point out that over 2.8 million more people voted for Hillary Clinton than did for Trump. However, Trump is one of five presidents who was elected through the electoral college, but who did not win the popular vote. George W. Bush was the most recent before Trump in 2000, but before Bush you have to go back to the 1800s for the others. The difference in votes for Trump’s election, however, was by far the biggest. Clinton received over 2.8 million more votes than Trump in the popular vote, while Bush, the second-highest margin, was just under 550,000 votes behind Al Gore, but still claimed the electoral college victory in 2000.
As readers of this column will know, I am no fan of Donald Trump, nor am I a fan of Doug Ford, but everyone was OK with the rules when the election began. We can’t then cry foul when it doesn’t turn out the way we hoped it would.
We all agree to a set of rules when we take part in anything. Whether it’s the laws that govern us, the expectations of your job or the guidelines in a sport’s rulebook, we all know where we stand when the sun comes up and those rules all need to be right where we left them when the sun goes back down again.
There are thoughtful and important discussions to be had regarding the politics on both sides of the border. Whether it’s long-discussed changes to the “first-past-the-post” system in Canada or the popular vote/electoral college in the U.S., there may be a better way, but when you’re staring a legal defeat in the face, it isn’t the time. That’s just sour grapes.