Ontario Election 2014 - Limping To The FinishSunday, June 08, 2014 by: Mac Headrick
This Thursday morning I will print my next article by 8 a.m. giving my predictions on the Ontario 2014 election. As regular readers of this column know my number one political priority is people exercising their right to vote. This sentiment aside I cannot help but feel this election has been the most miserable political experience that I can remember. I intended to watch the debate from beginning to end. After 15 minutes of Wynne apologizing and Horwath’s constant interruptions, I switched channels.
I am of the opinion baring a complete meltdown, the political debates have no effect on the election outcome. Apparently Tim Hudak performed the best of the three leaders. His performance doesn’t seem to have affected the Progressive Conservative popularity one way or another. In the final week of this campaign I will be closely watching the NDP vote projection numbers. The reason for this is because I believe they will determine what party will form the next government.
I noticed in the portion of the debate I watched how polite Tim Hudak was to Andrea Horwath. Even when questioning Kathleen Wynne, Mr. Hudak referenced points that the NDP leader was making. There was a reason for this. The Conservatives believe (correctly) that if the NDP vote collapses the beneficiary will be the Liberal Party. A lower 22 to 23 percent finish for the NDP could mean a Conservative minority government. A 15 to 16 percent finish for the NDP might result in a re-elected Liberal Party with a possible majority.
Remember the NDP won a large majority in 1990 with 37.6% of the vote. I do not study the specific make up of all the seats in Ontario. From what I read the seats won by Progressive Conservatives are usually by massive majorities. The Liberal vote is often referred to as efficient. They get more “bang for the buck” from their votes. To realize a majority government means a political party needs in the 40% plus area. None of the parties are there as of today. Of course I am assuming the political polls are accurate. As recent elections have shown this is often not the case.
My first priority is always how the outcome of an election affects Sault Ste Marie. In this respect the promise of Tim Hudak to eliminate 100,000 public sector jobs frightens me. Part of the reason is I do not believe our city has the capacity to replace the government jobs lost. After the last federal budget our Conservative representative Bryan Hayes publicly assured our city there would be no further federal job reduction locally as a result of the budget. The fact Mr. Hayes did this means two things. One there has been a loss of jobs locally. Secondly these losses are problematic. If Sault Ste Marie was creating plenty of jobs on an ongoing basis why then was our federal member concerned? Does anyone reading this column really believe that large employers are looking to locate in Northern Ontario specifically to our city? Mr. Hudak didn’t attend the Northern Ontario debate. How important do you think our section of the province is to the Conservatives?
For the record I agree on some of the ideas put forth by the Conservatives. I do not like the way the College of Trades is set up. Tim Hudak wants to put the ratio of apprentices to trades in line with the rest of Canada. He has called for a two year wage freeze in the public sector. Personally I would prefer this if public sector employees making under $50,000 were exempt and a massive job loss wasn’t part of it. Emission testing (Drive Clean Ontario) might have been necessary in the past. The current passing rate is so high as exhaust systems have improved as like the Conservatives I now question its purpose. The reduction in corporate welfare is an excellent idea by the Conservatives. Of course where we differ is I believe corporate taxes is part of “corporate welfare”.
Locally the race has been very polite and quiet. It may just my perspective but there doesn’t seem to be near as many lawn signs as in past elections. The turn out to vote Thursday in Ontario might set a historic low.
As I see it Ontario is limping to the end of this campaign. Thursday morning I will share with you my predictions. Between now and then enjoy the wonderful spring weather .