By the time I post this blog, we will have gone to the polls to vote in one of the most important by-elections in Ontario in many years. The Ontario Provincial government is controlled by the Liberal party with a slim minority. The Premier bought our local, long-term, female Conservative representative with a five-year job as head of the Health and Safety Bureau, at half again her representative’s salary. He had hoped to get a Liberal elected, or at least a third party NDP member, to solidify his stance.
When he did this, one of his own long-term members resigned because of stress, partly caused by the chance of an imminent, non-confidence election. So both parties are down one vote, and the balance is still precarious. Whoever is elected in these two ridings will determine how Ontario is run for the next decade or more.
American elections can get crazy. This election is serious enough, but still just qualifies as silly. Many people complain about the fact that women don’t make up half the politicians, as they do the population. The bitchers seem to imply that men are somehow preventing women from having an equal representation. It’s possible that most women just don’t want to lower themselves to take this thankless and befouled job.
One of the three major party leaders is female. Two of the three major party candidates are women, including the party with the lady boss. Generally these three parties are the only ones seriously considered. One of the two big parties will probably win the seat, although votes lost to #3 might change the final result. If enough votes go to the NDP party, from voters dissatisfied with the top two, we might end up with a minority government in which the NDP tail could wag either the Liberal or Conservative dog.
On Friday, Aug. 31, the local paper finally printed a page listing candidates for other than the big three. There are seven more people who will be listed on the ballot, three of whom don’t even live in the riding, for a total of ten. The only place I know that has that many choices, is Italy. Of the seven, two more are female. One is running for the Communist Party. Americans need not worry. This is Canada, and this is a kinder, gentler Communist Party than the one Joe McCarthy tried to root out.
Of the five men, one represents the Libertarian Party, which supports government-funded religious schools. The guy from the Freedom Party, on the other hand, wants to stop public funding of Catholic schools, and allow private liquor sales like they have in the U. S. One man represents the Pauper Party. As you might guess, he is a fiscal conservative, deeply and rightly concerned with runaway spending and mounting debt. While finance is a major concern, it is not the only one and, like the lady from the Green Party, which fixates on the environment, they’re both a one-trick pony.
We have one man running as an Independent, offering not much more than financial conservatism. He may not believe in Area 51 and Elvis still being alive, but I get the feel of a conspiracy theorist. The final candidate is the most colorful, in both senses. The other nine are all various shades of white, from snow to paper. This guy is black. He comes from a small city the other side of Toronto, 75/80 miles away. He represents the Peoples Party, and speaks of helping the poor, something this region still does not have like Toronto does. He can be seen in YouTube videos, wandering the streets of Toronto, wearing long white robes, angel’s wings or a fake white beard, loudly and colorfully approaching passersby.
Ordinarily, cards are mailed to voters at least a month before the election, to tell them that they are eligible to cast a ballot, and giving the location of their voting booth. This time, the cards arrived in the mail on a Thursday, and we vote the following Thursday. The premier also chose a *strange* date, Sept. 6th. Primary and secondary schools, community college and two local universities are just beginning fall term. Parents are busy and students old enough to vote are in the middle of moving in and getting class schedules. I believe that the premier is hoping that only die-hard Liberal voters will bother to come out, to support him.
Because this is a pivotal riding, in a pivotal election, everybody and his dog wants to know my opinion, or influence my opinion. The phone calls are unendingly maddening. This is Decima Poll – Harris Poll – Rogers Poll, etc, etc, etc. If the election was held today, what party would you vote for? Who would make the best premier? This is the Liberal candidate. Please vote for me. This is the Conservative candidate; please remain on the line for a telephone, town-hall meeting, where you can ask a real live candidate, real live questions. This is the female leader of the NDP Party. Who the F**k cares? You’re not running in this riding. My wife’s having a heart attack! I need to call 911! Get to Hell off my telephone line!
*Okay, we did our civic duty and went out and voted today. The beige-skinned elections *greeter* stopped us before we even got to the school gym where we voted, and demanded to see our registration cards. He examined the two, separated them and handed one back to each of us. He told us that we voted at table 231, “See it right there?” No! We’re old folks, and we’re still out in the hall. Let us step inside.
The male returning officer made a small fuss that I had the wife’s card and she had mine, so we told him it was his buddy in the hall that got them mixed up. He had to tell the young female Negro assistant that she should look for us on the list under S. Still learning the alphabet I guess.
They elected another Liberal to replace the one who retired in the other riding. Our riding, which has been staunchly Conservative for years, rejected both of the leading parties, and elected a socialist NDP. The government still rules with a minority, but the Conservative party has less authority, and has been told that their confidence and support needs work. This is going to get interesting.