With the upcoming Ontario provincial election around the corner, and one of a few community all-candidates debates coming up tonight, I thought it might be a good idea tonight to find out who’s running in my riding. After a bit of running around on the internet, I finally found this tiny “Find Your Candidate” link in the fine print at the bottom of Elections Ontario’s We Make Voting Easy website. Actually, I started at Elections Ontario and didn’t find anything. Then I found the candidates on Wikipedia first, then by doing a Google search, and then much later I stumbled across the Find Your Candidate link. Needless to say, “We Make Voting Easy” is an unfortunate misnomer. But I appreciate the sentiment.
There are six candidates competing for my vote in Beaches East York. Of the six, three are eliminated right away:
Chris Menary, Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario: the PC party is the party of former Premier Mike Harris, who in the late 90s decimated the province’s social services by slashing funding for almost everything. Hospitals and schools closed. Infrastructure projects were cancelled. Social assistance was taken away from millions who needed help the most. Harris’ reign ended just before the 2003 Blackout, where the underfunded and decaying power grid mishandled a minor routine fault, throwing much of Ontario and the northeast United States into darkness for days. The Harris tax cuts left the province billions of dollars in the hole. Tim Hudak, Menary’s leader, has surrounded himself with former Harris advisers, and most damning of all, is endorsed by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (see Every Mayor Is Better Than Ours!) There is no possible way in hell that I would vote for this party, ever.
Naomi Poley-Fisher, Freedom Party of Ontario: the Freedom Party was founded in London, Ontario in the 1980s by people who thought that the Progressive Conservative Party of the day was not libertarian enough. No thanks.
Joe Ross, The Only Party: while some sources refer to his candidacy as simply “independent,” The Only Party is registered with Elections Ontario. Unfortunately, that’s all the information I could find. They do not have a website (try Googling “only party”), and Ross did not submit any contact information with his nomination papers. Searching Joe Ross on Google brings up many varied results, including a Joe Ross who ran for the Green Party in an eastern Ontario riding in 2003, but none are conclusively the same Joe Ross nominated here. Not having an internet presence at all means no further consideration for this candidate.
The three remaining are the three I will consider voting for.
Shawn Ali, Green Party of Ontario: I’m usually impressed with Green Party candidates. They tend to be younger intellectuals who can seriously debate on the issues, when given the chance. Many seem to be the former conservatives left behind when the Conservative Party was taken over by crazy libertarian reactionaries. However, federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May came out this year as an anti-WiFi nutter, aligning herself with a group opposed to wireless broadband and notably opposed to hydro smart meters because of their wireless technology. Very disheartening coming from the leader of Canada’s environmentalist party.
Michael Prue, New Democratic Party: I have voted NDP in every election ever, without exception, and Prue has held this riding for several elections and is the favourite to win again this time. However, the NDP platform contains such policies as reversing the HST and lowering gas taxes, both of which I’m strongly opposed to and would expect to find in the PC platform if I ever wasted my time looking at it. But they’re also calling for higher corporate and income taxes, both of which the province sorely needs to close the deficit gap. Still, I’m extremely unimpressed that our only real left-wing party is quoting from the Tory playbook.
Helen Burstyn, Ontario Liberal Party: I’ve been more or less satisfied with the Liberal government of the past eight years. They harmonized our sales tax, which will benefit the economy despite the populist whine of the Conservatives. They have opened many new hospitals where Harris closed them. They have committed to some very large and desperately needed infrastructure projects, like creating Metrolinx to manage transportation redevelopment in the Greater Toronto & Hamilton Area, which is already having major successes despite the roadblocks Rob Ford has tried to drive into the process. And they seem to be the only party investing in a green energy economy, seemingly including the Greens. These are all important things. But they also gave away billions in handouts to American automakers who destroyed the economy in the province’s southwest. And they were complicit in the breakdown of civil rights and thousands of unlawful detentions at the Toronto G20.
So there’s still much to think about. Tonight I’m going to attend Neighbourhood Link’s all-candidates debate at Beach United Church, and live-blog if my mobile signal is strong enough. I’m excited to learn more about these candidates. And I encourage you to learn more about candidates in your own riding.