That seems to be the reaction for voters in Ontario. There’s a provincial election on October 6, and I can’t recall an election where there’s been so little chatter, buzz, debate or general interest. Sure, the media is doing its part but the voters don’t seem to care. My conclusions are not based on any data or polling results. My hypotheses is based on simple interaction with co-workers, neighbors, friends and family. No one really seems to care or is that interested. I think the voters in Ontario are suffering from election fatigue. In the last six months voters in Ontario went to the polls for Municipal and a Federal election, and now we’re a week away from a Provincial election. That’s a lot of bickering, empty promises and name calling to endure in a short period of time. The voters must be numb because their level of engagement defies the facts. The fact is the incumbent, Premier Dalton McGuinty, is in a virtual tie with Tim Hudak, leader of the PC Party. That doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Here are some facts to ponder; McGuinty promised not to add to the provincial debt. Yet Ontario’s deficit has grown every year while he was at the helm. The deficit in 2010 was $21 billion, and projections indicate that there will be a further deficit of $15 billion in 2011. McGuinty promised no additional taxes. Yet he was responsible for increasing health care premiums, HST, increased electricity rates by 75%, an ECO tax on paint cans, window washer fluid, a disposal tax on all electronics, disposal tax on tires, increased licensing fees for cars, boats, fishing and hunting, and reversed protections set forth in the Taxpayer Protection Act. There was a promise to fix the property tax system. Property taxes assessment were frozen for two years, and since then there’s been a substantial increase. He also gave Mayor David Miller the right to impose an additional 5% land transfer tax for properties purchased in Toronto. He promised to reduce auto insurance by 10% within his first 90 days of taking office. The reality is that never happened, and today Ontario has the highest auto insurance rates in Canada.
The purpose of this blog is not to endorse a specific candidate. Voters in Ontario still have time to become engaged, and ask the hard questions. I think the most important question to ask is, “are we better off now than we were before”. For each voter the answer will be different. But it appears the questions are not being asked. The facts indicates that there should be vigorous debate over the issues among the electorate. Yet in Ontario, it appears the facts have made voters sleepy.
Until next time,