Ontario will vote tomorrow for a general provincial election.
For those who are not familiar with the Canadian political system, a Canadian province have a lot of powers. In education, healthcare, transportation and energy, they manage a lot of resources. But a majority of voters in Ontario will probably don’t vote tomorrow. Unlike in Quebec where 70-ish of voters had turned out to vote last April, political apathy is high right now in Ontario. Very high.
The Liberals in Ontario had been in power since 2003, and they been implicated in a loads of scandals. Ontario is also in a dire fiscal situation. The province have a out of control structural deficit, a mounting debt and massive problems related to corruption and despotism. In any normal situation, paying more than one billion dollars in fines because you cancelled a power plant project to save a few marginal seats and then trying to hide the evidence would be tantamount to prison.
The party also lacks vision and especially political courage, for example by ordering a detailed report (the Drummond Report) on finding ways to help Ontario have a sustainable financial future but by then shelving all its more important points.
Instead of running on their record in office, which is frankly horrible in the last few years, the Liberals had done a nasty campaign of fear against both the Progressive Conservatives and the NDP. The other trend is that the Liberals are having support of all the clientelistic groups possible. Whatever some corporations, trade unions and pressure groups, the Liberals had become a status-quoesque patronage machine for established interests.
So, why are Wynne’s Liberals are not at 15% in the polls? Because of »progressives » who wants to vote »against » Tim Hudak PC. In other words, the Liberals have promised the Moon to every pressure group possible and would don’t mind putting the province broke just to win another term.
What if the reactionaries (aka those who wants to protect the entrench interests) are now with the Liberals?
I find that Tim Hudak is quite pragmatic. What he wants to cut (and he is honest to say it unlike the Liberals) is realistic. He wants to lower the number of employees down to 2009 levels. The NDP wants to cut also but they clearly don’t need a Ministry of savings to know where to cut as the Drummond Report had done this job.
What progressives voting for Wynne should remember is that the Liberals are hardly champions of many of their causes. They support corporate cronyism (ie: giving taxpayers money to prop up rich corporations who in return give money to the party), they support the Beer Store (a corporate monopoly) and they support giving bailouts to help corporations making cars for example.
But the problem instead goes much deeper for Canadian progressives. They don’t seems to have allies who understand that in some cases organised labour and other pressure groups are not the best actor to promote social justice. I agree that the ONDP and the Greens had understood this and like European social democratic parties, they now understand that having more deficit spending and more debt is fundamentally an anti-social policy.
So, who the support? Vote or don’t vote, but remember that voting for the Liberals is giving them carte blanche for the future even if they are still in a minority. And if this future is like the past few years, Ontario will become the worst province in Canada in many ways.