PoliticsOntario’s Defining Moment

Ontario’s Defining Moment

Ontario’s Defining Moment

Over the weekend Premier Wynne, in an unprecedented move, conceded the election. Nearly a week before the province went to the polls. While her government did have successes to its name – contrary to the dominating opinion that she singlehandedly sent Ontario to the gallows – perhaps she realized, what most people knew well in advance, she could not win another election. Ontarians would not allow that. And, as the sun sets over nearly 15 years of liberal rule over Queen’s Park, polls show that the Progressive Conservatives and the New Democratic Party are neck and neck to form Ontario’s next government, and the liberals struggle to even maintain official party status.

It’s the end of an era and today could be a defining moment for Ontarians.

In the 1990s, the entire Western world took a turn towards third-way politics – Bill Clinton came to power in the United States, Tony Blair swept the elections in the United Kingdom, Gerhard Schröder took the reins in Germany, and the list goes on. But essentially, reconciliation of left and ring wing politics was the norm. However, in recent years that has changed. On June 23, 2016 the United Kingdom successfully voted to separate from the European Union.

On November 8, 2016 the world witnessed perhaps the biggest electoral upset of modern times – reality TV star and occasionally successful real estate tycoon Donald Trump despite taking just 46.1 per cent of the popular vote defeated Hillary Clinton to set the stage for his ascendance to the presidency of the United States of America on an America-first view on the world. Marine Le Pen created ripples across France with her populist wave, signaling that the allegiance the Western world had pledged to third-way politics in the late 20th century was perhaps coming to an end.

In many nations across the world – India, Italy, Austria for example – events and incidents have occurred which demonstrate that the world order which everyone has become so accustomed to is perhaps changing. Changing as forces in these nations attempt a turn to a protectionist ‘our country first’ system.

That right there is what Doug Ford represents. No, he is not Donald Trump. But, I have personally sat at a Manning Centre conference where he spoke, criticized Prime Minister Trudeau’s ‘sunny ways’ and praised the politics of Donald Trump. A lot has been said about his personal life as well, but this isn’t about making personal attacks. Quite realistically it’s about his politics. He has no platform, he has no plan. He is trying to win an election by appeasing to a side in his supporters, and bringing that side to the forefront, where they’d rather focus on personal gain rather than the collective good. That might be a successful way of playing the game of politics, however the results eventually leave everyone with regrets.

So, that’s what I meant by Ontario being able to define itself today. As we head to the polls, we can give way to our anger at Premier Wynne and the liberals, we can believe that Doug Ford will fix all that is wrong by waving a magic wand – or we can vote based on the possibility that Ontario can serve as a moral compass for the rest of the country by not allowing protectionist and populist sentiments taking over our province. Andrea Horwath has many flaws, but she deserves a shot – and right now, she is the best person to lead the province.

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