Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ontario Votes 2007: Thoughts after the election

1.) This Liberal platform point, which will be effective immediately (i.e. they plan to pass the bill as soon as the legislature convenes), is stupid. Well, not the holiday part, but the fact that it's supposed to celebrate "family." Aren't there already enough holidays that celebrate families? I mean, there's Mother's Day, Father's Day, Grandparents' Day. According to Dear Dalton:
"There is nothing more valuable to families than time together. And yet it seems tougher than ever to find, with so many of us living such busy lives," McGuinty said.

"That's why, on the third Monday of this coming February — and every February from now on — Ontarians deserve a new statutory holiday — Family Day."

Isn't the entire Christmas season family-oriented?! And Thanksgiving? Where the hell is Single Persons' Day? What about a day celebrating our life choices?! Must we wait until we marry ourselves à la Carrie Bradshaw?

Of course, I'm not serious about a Single Persons' Day. However, what I am serious about is my distaste for designating a statutory holiday "Family Day." It's discriminatory and, quite frankly, superfluous. There are more than enough occasions to celebrate family. Just make the day a stat. Or, better yet, scrap the proposed February holiday and move it to November. Why, after all these years, is Remembrance Day in Ontario not marked by the cessation of work?! While I am a pacifist, I think that if anything merits celebration in this province, it's the sacrifice of our servicemen and women!

2.) Caroline Di Cocco, the only Liberal cabinet minister to lose his or her seat, is blaming the mayor of her riding for her defeat. No, not because he undertook a devious, counter-Caroline campaign, but because he pushed for the disclosure of the cost of the new hospital. Di Cocco was quoted in the local paper as saying how one doesn't discuss costs when one's trying to get contracts signed. Whatever. A memo from the health minister was sent to the hospital board on August 14th, quoting the cost as more than double the initially projected cost. This memo was carbon-copied to Di Cocco; she claims she didn't see it until October 1st--the reason for this being, according to today's London Free Press, that she was busy with her re-election campaign.

And I say that, ballooning hospital costs aside (N.B.: the $314 million price tag doesn't include costs associated with decommissioning the old hospital, architects fees, etc.,), these are reasons enough to lose a seat! First, as a member of provincial parliament, your first responsibility is to be accountable to your constituents, not to get yourself re-elected. If your constituents want to know how much money for which they'll be "on the hook," it is your responsibility to inform them to the best of your ability, regardless of the state of contract negotiations. Such is the principle of transparency that should be at work in all contracts that are signed with the private sector on behalf of the public.

Second, if, as Di Cocco maintains, she did not see the memo, she was also in remiss of her duties. While I understand that the volume of correspondence must seem daunting at times, it was her responsibility to ensure that she was kept abreast of all developments associated with the hospital contract. If she hadn't heard anything, why wasn't she making inquiries?!

Caroline Di Cocco has no one to blame for this loss but herself. While I am disappointed that her riding instead went to a Conservative, she didn't earn herself another mandate.

3.) To illustrate to the misinformed/non-believers/whatever you want to call all those who voted against proportional representation why we need proportional representation, I calculated the percentage of the 107 Ontario legislature seats won by each of the political parties and compared it to their share of the popular vote, which was reported in the local newspaper here. The results are as follows:
Liberals: 66.4% of seats/42.1% of popular vote
Conservatives: 24.3% of seats/31.6% of popular vote
New Democrats: 9.3% of seats/16.9% of popular vote
Greens: 0.0% of seats/8.1% of popular vote
Other: 0.0% of seats/1.4% of popular vote

How can you not be disgusted by the fact that garnering almost 17% of the votes cast (excluding spoiled ballots, of course) will get you under 10% of the seats in legislature?! Or that 8% of the votes won't you anywhere?! Hell, even if you're further to the right of the political spectrum than I am, how can you not be annoyed by the fact that your party's support isn't accurately reflected by the make-up of the legislature?!

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