My vote in the Ontario election

I went into my vote-deciding for this election with a few specific criteria in mind. After only a short section of the campaign, I have to make my decision — my ballot arrived today, and I leave Sydney on Sunday, so I basically have to mail it within the next few days.  I’ll be casting my vote and dropping the ballot in the mail tomorrow.

In this short deliberation period, I’ve come across major barriers to voting for any of the major parties.  Issues that are extremely important to me (say what you like about my priorities, but my priorities are my own) are either being poorly addressed, or addressed in a manner I am really uncomfortable with.

The deal-breakers on each of the main parties, for me:

  • Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario – besides Mike Harris having destroyed large parts of my high school experience, which I’m willing to get beyond since it was over a decade ago, there’s, well, their entire platform.  Forced prisoner labour, GPS-tracking-sex-offenders, cutting taxes on energy and environmentally-damaging-electronics, income-splitting, income tax cuts, ending the efficient use of smart meters, shutting down the Ontario Power Authority, eliminating investment in wind power while increasing investment in nuclear and natural gas power, requiring people to be a resident of Ontario for a year to get access to social assistance, cutting corporate tax, limiting the rights of unions and of arbitrators resolving labour disputes, reducing the public service by “not filling vacant positions,” eliminating LHINs (strangely, the wording of this promise in their platform almost exactly matches that in the NDP’s), cutting the pay of education workers,  and shifting gas tax money from public transport systems to any-form-of-transportation are all things I find abhorrent.  That, and the whole Rob Ford endorsement thing. Yuck.
  • Ontario Liberal Party – I’ve always given the Liberals a bit of a break in Ontario – as far as Liberal governments go, they’ve been a pretty good one. They finally put the HST in place, which was important to me.  Dalton McGuinty, though, has come out in support of abolishing the federal Senate, which was one of my key issues.  The Liberals have also been a complete failure when it comes to civil liberties – their disgusting behaviour leading up to and following the G20 in Toronto, and outright refusal to launch a full inquiry or to take any meaningful steps towards solving the countless problems that they were, at best, complicit in, or at worse, actively engaged in, is enough for me to outright eliminate this party.
  • Ontario NDP – a party of which I was once a member, and the party for which I have always voted provincially (without exception).  They do support an inquiry into the G20, though they also support Senate abolition rather than reform.  However, I believe they’re dead wrong when it comes to the HST.  Having seen what the BC NDP was able to ‘achieve’ on the HST (i.e. eliminating it and sending the province’s sales tax regime back into the 1980s), I fear that the Ontario NDP will do the same.  Rather than propose meaningful changes to the HST, they opposed it outright for so long.  They’ve now changed their tune and support keeping the HST system, but creating a zillion exceptions — effectively eliminating most of the benefit of the system itself.  The worst part, for me, is that the exceptions they propose are on all the things that I believe should be expensive — electricity, home heating, and petrol.  AND they want to put caps on gas prices.  They do intend to increase corporate taxes a little, but also to hand back about half of this increase in the form of tax credits.  I refuse to support a party with a “cheap energy, low taxes” policy.  It goes against everything I believe in.
  • Green Party of Ontario – I have voted Green in the last two federal elections.  I was giving them serious consideration – they do support a carbon tax and have roughly progressive policies.  They seem to oppose the HST, but for different reasons than the NDP – at least their rationale is that it increases costs on green energy too, and if you put in a carbon tax and take away the provincial sales tax as they seem to propose, I think you’d actually end up in a better place (expensive energy).  Then I found this in their platform, with the wording almost directly taken from the PC platform: “revise the Arbitrations Act to require consideration of local circumstances and government’s ability to pay when deciding public sector wage settlements.”  It seems innocent enough – but such a revision would severely restrict the ability of workers to demand their own rights. It would effectively create a situation where unions would be unable to negotiate at all as anything that ends up at arbitration would work against them.  In a global climate like the one we are in now, where workers are standing up for their rights and being shot down (sometimes literally) time and time again, this is a really, really, regressive policy.  This offends me so badly that, on its own, it’s a deal-breaker.  Sorry Greens, but I expected better of you.
So, that leaves me with all the obscure candidates.  Normally I wouldn’t really consider them, but having eliminated the major parties I have no choice.  I suppose the other alternative is to spoil my mail-in ballot — at which point, what’s the point?
  • Christopher Jason Goodwin, Freedom Party of Ontario. This party is, basically, Libertarian. No thanks.
  • Cathy Holliday, Communist. You might recall I came close to voting for her federally – it’s interesting that they’ve chosen the same candidate to run provincially. Maybe she’s the only member of the party in Toronto Centre. Who knows.  They explicitly support a public inquiry into the G20, and their platform actually has explicit support for protecting labour rights, which is essential to me.  They do support eliminating the HST, but similar to their federal party that doesn’t mean going back to the old system – it means eliminating sales taxes altogether, and in turn increasing corporate taxes (significantly), which makes perfect sense to me.  Similar to the federal party, though, they also support cutting hydro rates by 50%, which was an issue I had with supporting them at the federal level.  They seem to have no opinion on the Senate, but they do explicitly plan to upload costs from the municipalities back to the province.
  • Phil Sarazen, Independent.  Independents are always entertaining, especially in Toronto Centre.  I can’t even find a campaign website, but I think he’s this guy.  He also may or may not be a former Green Party of Ontario candidate (1988) and Marxist-Leninist candidate (1974).  He appears to be an artist and inventor.  His bio is entertaining on its own. And gives a general idea of what he believes in.  I would seriously consider voting for him, if he even had a single campaign page.
So basically, the options that are not completely abhorrent to me are the Communist and the artist-inventor-Independent.  The Communists have the whole cheap-energy thing going against them, but at least it’s offset by significantly higher corporate taxes without compensating breaks, and the fact that they want to nationalise the energy production and eliminate most of the worst energy sources.  The artist-inventor-Independent has the whole “protest vote” thing going for him, but pretty well nothing else.
Um.  Yeah.
Guess I’m voting Communist.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Given your options I would vote Communist too. I’m currently leaning towards voting Liberal for the first time ever, because they’re the only party that is supporting the HST, but really none of the parties are representing me in this election. I’m appalled that the NDP has swung so far to the right, and I’ve never liked the Greens and don’t think I can ever take them seriously after the WiFiGate thing. I can’t not vote though.


    • Are you saying you would vote Communist if they had a candidate in your riding?

      I’m disappointed all around with the options this time. all the more arguments for not actually returning to Ontario, for the time being.


    • I’m still voting NDP because, overall, they are farther to the left than the Liberals and the Conservatives. Also, Michael Prue is a nice guy, and I always have tried to base my decisions in part on the character of the candidate as a matter of principle.

      I do agree that the position of the NDP on energy prices is inappropriate.

      As for the HST – well, it’s something I notably avoid holding an opinion on since I am not enough of an accountant to know otherwise. All in all I agree that provincial politics has become alienating and frustrating.


  2. Posted by Charles in Vancouver on 2011/09/13 at 1:29 am

    I’d feel pretty alienated in your position too. I am kinda hoping that if a minority government forms, Ontario can have parties keeping each other honest rather than giving the worst of both worlds.


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