A PWD’s thought on the results of the 2022 provincial election

The past few days have been rough on my mental health, and I know I’m not alone.

Since last Thursday’s provincial election, I’ve felt a mixed bag of emotions. Anger, frustration, sadness, and even fear have seemingly taken over my thoughts. Well, more so than usual.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d mention the election results or my feelings about the outcome. A part of the reason is I like to maintain a certain level of professionalism here. In other words, no swearing, which, I admit, can be difficult for me, especially when it comes to discussing specific issues.

Anyways, let’s try to roll through this together.

On Election Day, I planned to avoid all of the live coverage of the results, which also meant staying off social media. I succeeded in doing so, which was a good choice.

When I rolled up to my desk the following day, I felt punched in the gut.

I wasn’t overly surprised that Doug Ford won. I was more surprised by the turnout.

Only 43% of eligible voters in Ontario cast their ballot.

My first thought was, why?

For the past four years, all I’ve read or heard was people wanting Doug Ford to resign for multiple reasons. The reasons varied from his mishandling of the pandemic to his comments towards people with disabilities both on and not on Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).

I didn’t understand why or how anyone couldn’t be bothered to vote. Over the weekend, the typical responses that I saw were either people didn’t have time, fuel’s expensive, so they’re driving less, and the outcome was predictable, and therefore one vote wouldn’t make a difference.

I hate to break it to you, but one vote CAN make a difference. Just think about all of the election recalls over the years. In some cases, it all came down to one vote. I’m not just referring to elections, either. Just think about meetings, debates, and even dumb reality shows. One person’s vote often has a much more significant impact.

The sad truth is that I think more people would’ve voted if the elections were similar to Canada’s Got Talent or any of the American reality competition shows.

The same can also be said about social media. If we could vote using hashtags, there would be a much higher turnout.

I’m not saying we should, by the way.

People have died for our right to vote. The absolute very least that we can do is to exercise that right.

I sometimes feel bad for saying this, but I’ll say it anyway.

If a guy in a wheelchair who uses a ventilator 24/7 can vote, so can you.

Now, I understand if you have a severe illness or other factors that prevent you from voting. That is an entirely different and understandable reason why some didn’t or can’t vote.

As far as not having time to vote, well, time is what you make of it. A big reason for advance voting is to give those who cannot vote on election day a chance to do so. Many simply chose not to.

It should go without saying that I’m upset and frustrated that Doug Ford won.

My heart goes out to the families who lost loved ones during Covid outbreaks in long-term care homes and hospitals. If Doug Ford had handled the situation better, lives would’ve been saved, and both seniors and people with disabilities wouldn’t have died while being isolated from their families.

As to why I’m afraid, along with Covid, our premier is also putting people with disabilities’ lives at risk, particularly those on ODSP. I’ve written about the daily challenges that many on ODSP face on several occasions. Issues include not having enough money to buy groceries, pay rent, or pay bills for themselves or their families.

The ones that can work get penalized. They are punished for trying to earn enough money to buy food, pay their bills, and gain a certain level of independence.

As noted in previous articles, many PWD feel hopeless and ignored with no end in sight.  Sadly, several PWD have chosen to end their lives because it’s the only way out of their daily hell.

Speaking of personal, let’s talk about personal support workers. Whether we need PSW to assist with bathing, cooking/eating, tidying up, or in my case, keeping me safe and alive, PSW are essential to PWD and seniors.

Doug Ford has led PSW to leave the field instead of treating them with respect and paying them what they deserve. In doing so, this has also put PWD lives at risk.

Now, I’m wondering why many of you decided that continuing to ignore people with disabilities is acceptable behaviour?

Also, to the ones who decided not to vote, why did you allow this to happen?

As life rolls on, we all age. Also, anyone can become permanently disabled in an instant.

How would you feel being isolated from your family or not getting help with things that you took for granted once upon a time?

I’m very disappointed, Ontario.

Photo of Doug Ford via cbc.ca