Ontario Election – 2018

Standard

The protagonists:

  • Kathleen Wynne – Liberal incumbent
      • Currently third in the polls
      • Throwing tonnes of money around now – but the disaffected voter is no longer paying attention to anything the liberals are saying. It’s too late for that.
  • Doug Ford – newly elected PC Leader
      • He has been labelled, ‘populist’ – for and of the people. He seems to be someone who would want to ‘lead’ by consensus; but for me, the question becomes, “ consensus among whom?”
      • Frankly, what I know about Doug Ford is all second-hand. I’ve never met or spoken to him. But I feel comfortable in saying this: although I cannot ascribe to the Conservative vision and social model, flawed as it is, I saw Doug Ford stand by his brother through the worst of times. Because it was his brother. I can only conclude that the quality of selfless dedication to family (community),which may be at deficit in today’s world, is a quality Doug Ford has in abundance. Owing to this, and because of the expectation of difficult times ahead, I believe he is the sort of leader Ontarians can place their trust in…but he is in precisely the wrong party to lead Ontario through the hard times coming. Too bad he’s not a Liberal J.
  • Andrea Horwath – NDP leader
    • Of the three leaders, she is the most palatable, personality-wise, to the voter; the trouble is, she will be competing for the same swing-votes as the Liberals.

The NDP has historically done very well in its role as the ‘conscience’ of Parliament, both federally and provincially – but they are now presented with a generational opportunity to form a government in Ontario because no one wants the Conservatives to govern except business owners and investors, who know that the Cons will enact legislation favourable to profit-making right now. The Cons will ‘make hay while the sun shines’ – future generations of Canadians be darned. The Cons do not appear to have cultivated the quality of foresight beyond that of a 5-year business plan.

If they desire to form an effective government, the NDP will need to create fiscal policy that keeps money moving. Money is to societies as blood is to the human body. It has to move, to keep flowing, in constant circulation throughout the body and not allowed to pool anywhere for very long or beyond a certain degree.

Being the conscience of government is quite different from being the government per se – the conscience is the proverbial good angel on your shoulder; but governments, just like the rest of us, also have a bad angel hollering at them, from the other shoulder. It should be easily recognizable which angel a person or government is listening to at any given moment; but, where the voter is concerned, modern politicians everywhere appear to have found a work-around: listen to the bad angel but talk like the good angel.[i]

I cannot for a moment think that the Conservatives, in their current form, Doug Ford notwithstanding, will be good for present and future Ontarians. In the mid to long term, they will not even be good for business. These guys are not Canada’s erstwhile Progressive Conservatives who featured the likes of Diefenbaker, Bill Davis, Hugh Segal – truly great Canadians; truly Canadian-spirited.

Voter disaffection is at an all-time high. This might not translate into low voter turnout if the respective parties are successful in mobilizing enough of their diehard supporters. But it could: after all of these years of promising things will get better, things on the street are worse now than ever before; even as the wealthier group got wealthier and our banks got richer.

The Liberals have done many good things; however privatising Hydro is not among them. The media has been sounding the alarm on wealth distribution for years but nothing has been done. Piketty had his say years ago, providing reams of empirical evidence in support, but we continue to look the other way. Privatising anything belonging to the commons is both antisocial and antidemocratic, but it is very much in keeping with the global socio-economic shift to the right. This trend will further exacerbate wealth inequality – with inequality of opportunity among the casualties. Wealth inequality, now globalizing and institutionalizing itself under the guise of globalized trade agreements, is at the root of most of humanity and the world’s problems.

By process of elimination, we are left with the NDP this time; because neither the Liberals or the Conservatives will be able to retrofit in time to make a difference.

At the end of the day, this election will likely not make a whole lot of difference anyways, particularly for Ontarians who are economically marginalized. Ontarians, just like everybody else, want things to be better for themselves and for others, but resist having to pony up and pay for it. One cannot therefore fault the wealthy for not wanting to pay more tax because they are just like everyone else – they just have more money. J

Targeting personal wealth with monumental tax increases is not going to have any great effect upon government revenues.[i] Even if you were to tax the rich into poverty, the gains would be insignificant compared to budgetary shortfall and total public debt. But you will need to ensure that no citizen’s personal income exceeds a certain level or you will continue to exacerbate the problem we have now where wealth is concentrating in a very few hands.

YOU NEED TO RAISE TAXES ON CORPORATIONS in Canada and everywhere else. A progressive tax scale is best, so that small businesses are not disadvantaged. Even a tiny increase in taxes on the big companies will result in large increases in tax revenue for sovereign governments which they may then direct toward ameliorating the impoverished conditions many of its citizens are raising their families in; which many of today’s children and tomorrow’s leaders are having to grow up in – conditions which should never have existed in the first place. A focused, globalized Piketty corporate tax regime will fix many problems – from poverty to desertification to war.  It will permit governments to regulate returns on investment -which is actually a good thing for everybody, including investors;  because if returns continue to tack higher than economic growth (GDP), we will eventually experience utter disintegration of our social and economic systems.  You would know this, if you were as perceptive, honest and smart as Mr. Piketty. But even if you aren’t, all you need to do is look around and you can see that he’s right.

 

Conclusion?

I pray the young people coming into the party ranks today remain spirited in the way Canada is spirited; so that the Liberal Party of Ontario can find its soul again – Ontario needs policy based on evidence and not dreams and whimsicality; but we also need a clear vision to guide and oversee the process. These days, we Ontarians are divided more than ever and along every conceivable dimension in which one human being is distinguishable from another. We have more poverty and more police (god bless them but we need less poverty, for a positive correlation exists between less poverty and less crime and  triage; and therefore, less work for the police folks J).

As for the Conservatives: the ‘right’ of the political spectrum got hijacked a long time ago by movement conservatism. Were the Progressive Conservatives to make a comeback, Canadians and Ontarians would find in them a clear and socially viable alternative to the right of the Liberals and NDP.

But that is something belonging to the future. In June 2018, the best possible outcome, in my opinion, is for the NDP or Conservatives to win a minority mandate. Ontarians would likely be back to the polls in two years, and by that time its Liberals will have had the opportunity to find their bearings and build effective policy to fix the many problems we have and to avoid future ones. That way, the Ontarians who are children and teenagers today will have a wonderful time raising their own families in the Ontario of tomorrow. However, if the Progressive Conservatives were to make a comeback in the meantime, the next election will be very interesting indeed.

We no longer have the latitude to endure ideology, fakeology, or any other such nonsense from our politicians. We no longer have the luxury to ignore longstanding problems (violence, especially gun-violence, poverty, environmental degradation, the egregious wrongs Canada has directed at the Indigenous, who were not only the first ones here, but also the first ones to welcome us).  We need politicians to work together in Parliament and in the provincial Legislatures –to ask and answer honestly; to discuss openly, instead of viewing and using EVERYTHING as an opportunity to score political points.

In a few words, we need governments to govern.

We also need engagement among our citizens to replace their disaffection.

[i] The Parliamentary Budget Office provides a tool on their website for playing around with tax brackets and percentages to see what the overall effect would be, say, to tax wealthy folks higher…check it out. It’s easy and your results may surprise you. You can find it here:

http://www.readyreckoner.ca/