Friday, October 12, 2007

What We Learned

Okay so here's what we know from Ontario's election:

1. Making bad promises will hurt you a lot more than not keeping good ones.

2. Shane Jolley should be the next leader of the Ontario Greens. The candidate from Owen Sound backed up his nationwide best showing in the federal election with an impressive second place finish in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound. He got a higher voting percentage than Elizabeth May in London!

3. Howard Hampton needs to retire. His speech last night was, at best, unscripted at worst, horrible. I'm not talking about whether or not you agree with him on substance. It was a long rambling incoherent speech. At the beginning he sounded like Martin making his exit in 2006 (talking about people who had been there since the beginning etc.) then at the end he says "oh, by the way, I'm staying around." He shouldn't. Ontarians are never going to fall in love with the man from Fort Francis.

4. Drawing on that point, Ontario will not have a leadership race until after the next federal election. This has got to be in the minds of John Tory and Howard Hampton when they didn't resign last night. The last thing they want to do is distract their party faithful during an election campaign.

5. Ontarians don't care about provincial politics. That is the lesson from the low voter turnout last night. It is not because of the electoral system. You can not blame the precipitous decline in voter participation in the last fifty years on something that has been CONSTANT. It defies all logic. Please, electoral reform advocates, do not quote me the one poorly compiled academic paper that says there is a higher participation rate in PR systems. I don't care how Belgians voted in the middle of the 19th century. It tells me nothing about voting patterns today. A whopping 43% of Germans turned out to elect members to the European Parliament using... wait for it... MMP. Electoral systems have NOTHING to do with turnout.

6. We have lost touch with the local electorate. There were two huge upsets that almost happened last night. Namely, Halton and Timmiskiming-Cochrane. Neither the party in trouble nor the party challenging realized these were races. The pundits also completely missed on predictions for close races. London-Fanshawe is a tight three way race? Sid Ryan is going to win Oshawa? Ottawa Centre is close? John Tory has a chance in Don Valley West? Donna Cansfield was in trouble? We need to get reporters on the ground again. The most reliable source for information is the board over at in spite of the posters' horrible biases.

7. John Tory should never be allowed within twenty feet of a campaign war room.

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