Thoughts on the 2018 elections

October 27, 2017   ·   0 Comments

THE DELUGE OF ATTACK ADS in recent weeks don’t mention the word, but “election” is a word you’ll soon see or hear incessantly in the months ahead.

After all, 2018 will see Ontario having an election next June (or earlier if Premier Kathleen Wynne is foolish enough to call one with her popularity nearing the vanishing point), plus municipal elections in October and mid-term elections in the United States in November.

Thus far the attack ads have come from the provincial Liberals and Progressive Conservatives, each tending to portray their leader as little short of godly and the other party’s leader as horrendous. For some reason, little has been heard from the provincial NDP or the Greens, who may both be hoping the ads from the two senior parties will tend to kill one another off or at least open some room for their own policies.

With eight months remaining before the provincial election, this one is shaping up as one for the PCs to lose – something they’ve managed to accomplish now for more than a decade, thanks to some policies that turned off more than a few voters. (For those with short memories, they included then-leader John Tory’s promise to fund private schools and Tim Hudak’s commitment to rid the public service of 100,000 public servants.)

Assuming that new leader Patrick Brown will instead take some sage advice from colleagues such as his deputy leader, Dufferin-Caledon’s Sylvia Jones, it’s fairly safe to predict a Conservative victory, if only because Ontarians for some reason have tended to be disinclined to have the same party in power at Ottawa and Queen’s Park.

Although it’s too early to predict what the main issues in the campaigning in the coming winter and spring will be, there’s little doubt that both the PCs and NDP will be inclined to portray the Wynne Liberals as corrupt and lacking in good ideas not already found in their own platforms.

And although both opposition parties will complain about the Liberals’ management of the energy file in general and green energy in particular, it will be interesting to see whether they can come up with credible alternatives.

One thing that could well play an important role is the government’s commitment to a $15-an-hour minimum wage by January 2019. However, since the minimum will already be up to $14 next January, we doubt the PCs will promise to roll it back rather than simply complain about the job losses already caused by the $2.40 jump from the present $11.60 an hour.

With the municipal elections exactly a year away, Orangeville Mayor Jeremy Williams has already confirmed plans to seek a second term, and the stage seems to be set for a royal battle in Toronto between John Tory and Doug Ford, one we hope Mr. Tory will win.

However, in the months ahead we hope some thought will be given to changing a few existing laws or traditions governing municipal elections.

One change that’s surely needed is an end to Toronto city council’s appointment of deputy mayors. We’ve never seen a reason given for only the mayor to be chosen by the city’s electorate, when years ago the old City of Toronto had both its mayor and Board of Control subject to city-wide votes.

Closer to home, we’d like to see an increase in council memberships to reflect the population growths in Orangeville and Mono.

In Orangeville, there should be a return to the nine-member council the town had when it had a population of 3,000, roughly one-tenth the current level.

And as for Mono, it surely ought to have the same seven-member council found in Shelburne to represent a similar population, as well as a ward system that would finally see at least one councillor being elected from the town’s urban subdivisions.

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