Thursday, October 11, 2007

Comments on the 2007 Ontario Election

Several times during the election campaign, I was tempted to break my de facto retirement and make a comment or two on this blog. But... I wasn't tempted enough since this election was over before it really began.

John Tory is now finished, and before more people comment on what a nice guy he is and what a shame it is that he nuked his campaign with a single moronic issue, we need to recognize a pattern in his behaviour. While he likes to play the nice-guy red tory role, he has a habit of taking this sort of turn.

I group his religious schools wedge issue promise with his making-fun-of-Chretien's-face ad for Kim Cambell. In both cases he was making a (mis)calculated move to win votes by polarizing voters. And both times he should have known that Canadians would reject him solidly.

I don't know if he has a bad ear for Conservative Party advisors, or if he isn't the nice guy he appears to be. In any case, his showing this time suggests he's not the leader many (including myself) thought he could be. The schools issue was not a small thing. To make a mistake like this is to be utterly out of touch.

Now that he has lost his seat and is most likely through with politics, he has handed Dalton McGuinty a double victory. Not only will Dalt have 4 more years in power, he already has a promising hope for a third majority in 2011. If he can continue his basically competent management he will have the lead over whichever unknown the PCs select as new leader.

The biggest surprise for me was the showing of the Green Party. Approximately 8% of the vote shows these guys have really arrived as a mainstream party. Certainly some of these votes were just protest votes by people who didn't feel comfortable with the other alternatives. On the other hand, it's probable there are others who would have been more likely to vote Green if they thought the party could win (or if we have proportional representation).

Speaking of PR, I have mixed feelings about the solid defeat of the MMP referendum tonight. At the last minute, I changed my mind and voted for it (swayed in part by Spacing's editorial). But it was a system with flaws and (more importantly) was a solution for a problem that most voters didn't really feel was that serious or important. So, it is done and election reform in Ontario is off the table for a while. It's going to get complicated if we have four parties that can break into double digits.

We now face four more years of Dalton McGuinty. The past four, I felt, were basically competent management but with mediocre leadership on some critical issues. Hopefully he can do better in his second term.