Ontario voters faced with questionable choices at the ballot box, surprised many political pundits by granting incumbent, Kathleen Wynne and The Liberal Party, a reprieve. The campaign was a rancorous affair resembling more of a U.S. model that has found it’s way north in recent memory. Amidst all the squabbling over copious amounts of tax dollars frittered away on gas plants, proposed public sector layoffs, and growing provincial debt, it seems a tall order to ask a small group of people to do what is right for Ontario’s faltering economy. Fix it! The credit rating agencies are warning anyone who cares to listen that Ontario’s credit rating will be downgraded. To service our debt will mean that compounded interest rates will push the Province’s debt – ceiling higher (are we watching our cousin’s in Michigan whose state has filed a bankruptcy petition.) Toronto’s hand will be stretched open a little further to allow Ottawa to pull from it’s grab- bag of transfer payments, more funds, to help Ontario make ends-meet.
Prime Minister Harper smiles knowing that when Ontario elects a Liberal government, Canada hires a government on the opposite end of the political spectrum to balance the political structure. (Trudeau – Davis/Mulroney – Peterson/Rae, Chretien- Harris, Harper-McGuinty.) As the credit agencies circle Wynne and her Finance Minister? decisions are going to have to be made to curb the deficit. Enjoy the honeymoon, Ms Wynne. The way of doing business in Ontario, and how the political system functions is out of balance. Note: Ontario’s anorexic manufacturing base, that is, and has been abandoning the lucrative Southern Ontario market for approximately twenty years. This requires fresh thinking soon, as eventually we will all come- a- cropper when the printing press slows down, the government refuses to raise the debt-ceiling, or the credit agencies downgrade our rating acting as a proxy-cabinet .
‘Proportional Representation,’ according to Oxford is”An electoral system in which parties gain seats in proportion to the number of votes cast for them.” Sounds pretty reasonable, and fair. However, a lot of heavy – lifting and currency needs to be wielded in a not so proportionate way to make it a reality.
As we hope to rebuild our economy in Ontario, we should consider philosopher John Locke’s (1632-1704) notion that, “For, when any number of men have, by the consent of every individual, made a community, they have themselves made that community one body, with a power to act as one body, which is only by the will and determination of the majority.”
Proportional Representation is the “quid pro quo” to the antiquated “first-past-the-post” system that we are currently mired in, which, breeds “gerrymandering,” “logrolling,” “pork-barrel” or what have you, to pit one against the other, no matter the medium. So, let us think long-term in the aftermath of the Ontario election, and in the future about systems of governance and people in our community.
For a list of nation-states employing ‘Proportional Representation’ please click on the following link from Wiki: Proportional Representation
gerrymandering: Manipulate the boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favour one party or class. (Oxford)
logrolling: North American 1 • informal The practice of exchanging favours, especially in politics by reciprocal voting for each other’s proposed legislation: they have gained leverage on Capitol Hill by a talent for political logrolling [from the phrase you roll my log and I’ll roll yours] (Oxford)
pork-barrel: North American • informal Used in reference to the utilization of government funds for projects designed to please voters or legislators and win votes: the lesson that power is based on the pork barrel and purchased with patronage (Oxford)
First-past-the-post: British Denoting an electoral system in which a candidate or party is selected by achievement of a simple majority (Oxford)