Ontario Election: The Candidates

Before I start beating up on people, I want to take a minute to go over what’s going on here. I know, this is basic stuff, but it’ll become important later.

The way Canada’s national and provincial election systems work, you’re asked to vote for which of various candidates in your riding you want to represent you in parliament. The candidate with the most votes wins the seat and a vote in government. You’re picking your representative.

Candidates are generally affiliated with a political party. Parties are kind of a bundle of values and ideals and come with their own histories and internal politics. I get the impression that most people completely disregard who the people running are and vote for the party.

And in a way that makes sense. The party that gets the most seats forms the government and the party leader leads that government. The leader has a lot of power, even though they’re not directly elected.

That kinda rubs me the wrong way. I have to think about who’s going to represent me.

Liz Whitmer (Progressive Conservative)

Ms Whitmer is the incumbent in the riding. She’s held it for 17 years. I have the distinct feeling she’s going to hold it for another four.

Liz Whitmer really bothered me in previous election campaigns. Given my feelings about the Mike Harris government, that probably isn’t that much of a surprise, but she came across as really smug and slimy.

This time, though, I’m not getting that vibe as much. I suppose running as the opposition is easier than running for the governing party.

I’m still not going to vote for her. There was a time when I might have considered voting PC, but even though the Conservative platform is a far cry from what it was in the Mike Harris years, I’m pretty sure their values don’t align with mine. At all.

Louise Ervin (Liberal)

Disclaimer: I got involved in this election a little earlier than most. I am currently a card-carrying member of the Ontario Liberal party. Dalton McGuinty sends me email. I signed up because a friend of a friend of a friend was running for the Liberal candidacy. I actually thought he was pretty good, too. Better than Ms Ervin, anyway.

No sour grapes, though. I’m probably the biggest Liberal apologist in the world, and if they field a halfway-decent candidate, I’ll vote for them. One of the things that bugs me about the Liberal party, though, is they have a tendency of fielding less-than-decent candidates.

I’m not terribly impressed with the Dalton McGuinty government over the last four years. While they didn’t make things much worse, I was kinda hoping they’d do something to try to fix some of the damage Mike Harris did, including and especially start fixing the fiscal situation for municipalities. They haven’t. So colour me disappointed. They have promised things I like, like an impressive public transit program. I don’t particularly mind giving them another chance. I’d vote for the Liberal party if that was what I was asked. What I’m being asked, however, is who I want to represent me.

I don’t want Louise Ervin representing me. She’s pretty awful. From what I can tell she doesn’t have any ideas of her own. She’s a Liberal pit bull wannabe, and an incredibly ineffective one at that. What’s more, her main public service credential–trustee on the Catholic school board–makes her outrage over John Tory’s proposal to fund private religious schools hard to swallow.

So I’m not voting for her, either.

to be continued…

Election Posts: An Introduction

I’m in Belleville for the long weekend. Having just driven in holiday traffic for three hours, I’m a little tired. So bear with me.

I was going to write this as an introduction to my election post (which I keep talking about but have yet to actually write). That’s coming, but I thought I should lay down some guiding principles first.

First, I hate politics. I am, however, a firm believer in the importance of good government and performing my duty as a citizen in a democracy. Without getting all Jimmy Stewart, I think it’s vitally important to stay informed and do what little is expected of me: vote.

I don’t think, however, that debating politics (especially on the internets) is often very productive. So I generally avoid it. But I’m torn, because I think that by avoiding it, I’m contributing to a general malaise and cynicism about democracy which I think is a huge problem in our society. (For the record, I have no problem with malaise and cynicism about politics, which I think is natural and inevitable. However, I think it’s important to separate democracy, society and governance from politics. They aren’t the same thing. The former is important and the latter is a retarded spectator sport).

So I’m going to talk about politics, but in a particular sort of way.

I want to lay out the basis for my coming to a decision regarding the election, or elections in general. I want to do this both to help me validate those thought processes in my own mind. I also kinda want to subtly encourage people by example. Which is to say I don’t particularly want to slog out a debate about who’s the better candidate in the comments. I’m not going to get into that. I would be very happy, however, to see others post about their own thought processes. I like to read that stuff.

I am not going to stump for a candidate. I don’t think that’s particularly classy. If there was one candidate I was enthusiastically ecstatic about (and there isn’t), that would probably show through. However, it’s not my goal to make you vote the way I vote. This is mostly about me, but if I wanted you to take anything out of this exercise, it’s to think for yourself, evaluate your own values and beliefs and cast a ballot for the candidate that you feel would best represent you.

I think of an election like it’s hiring someone for a job. You need to have that position filled by next week, even if all the candidates who’ve applied are horrible. That’s all you have to work with. It’s your job to pick one and move on.

I’ll post about the candidates tomorrow.

Back online

My server died. I didn’t really expect the site to be down that long. To my three (or perhaps four) readers, I apologize. I built this thing to be easy to rebuild, but I guess when you start messing around with the fatal combination of Linux hardware support and VMWare, all bets are off.

I’m still not entirely sure what I did to get it running again.

I’ve got a backlog of posts I’ve been wanting to write. Most of them likely won’t get written. First, I think I have to say something about this election thing. Then maybe I can find some fun things to write about.